Choosing a Retirement Date: The Best Time to Retire

Choosing Your Retirement Date: Here’s What You Should Know

Choosing a retirement date is one of the most important financial decisions you’ll ever make. Your retirement date can determine how much money you’ll need to save to achieve your desired lifestyle — and how many years that money will need to last.

Selecting an optimal retirement date isn’t an exact science. Instead, it involves looking at a number of different factors to determine when you can realistically retire. Whether you’re interested in retiring early or delaying retirement to a later age, it’s important to understand what can influence your decision.

The Importance of Your Retirement Date

When preparing to retire, the date you select matters for several reasons. First, your retirement date can influence other financial decisions, including:

•   When you claim Social Security benefits

•   How much of your retirement savings you’ll draw down monthly or annually

•   In what order you’ll withdraw from various accounts, such as a 401(k), Individual Retirement Account (IRA), pension, or annuity

•   How you’ll pay for health care if you’re retiring early and not yet eligible for Medicare

•   Whether you’ll continue to work on a part-time basis or start a business to generate extra income

These decisions can play a part in determining when you can retire based on what you have saved and how much money you think you’ll need for retirement.

It’s also important to consider how timing your retirement date might affect things like taxes on qualified plans or the amount of benefits you can draw from a defined benefit plan, if you have one.

If your employer offers a pension, for example, waiting until the day after your first-day-of-work anniversary adds one more year of earnings into your benefits payment calculation.

Likewise, if you plan to retire in the year you turn 59 ½, you’d want to wait until six months after your birthday has passed to withdraw money from your 401(k) in order to avoid a 10% early withdrawal penalty on any distributions you take.

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Choosing Your Date for Retirement

There are many questions you might have when choosing the best retirement date: What is the best day of the month to retire? Is it better to retire at the beginning or end of the year? Does it matter if I retire on a holiday?

Weighing the different options can help you find the right date of retirement for you.

End of the Month

Waiting to retire at the end of the month could be a good idea if you want to get your full pay for that period. This can also eliminate gaps in pay, depending on when you plan to begin drawing retirement benefits from a workplace plan.

If you have a pension plan at work, for example, your benefits may not start paying out until the first of the following month. So, if you were to retire on the 5th instead of the 30th, you’d have a longer wait until those pension benefits showed up in your bank account.

Consider End of Pay Period

You could also consider waiting to the end of the pay period if you don’t want to go the whole month. This way, you can draw your full pay for that period. Working the entire pay period could also help you to accumulate more sick pay, vacation pay, or holiday pay benefits toward your final paycheck.

Lump Sums Can Provide Cash

If you’ve accumulated unused vacation time, you could cash that out as you get closer to your retirement date. Taking a lump sum payment can give you a nice amount of cash to start your retirement with, and you don’t have to worry about any of the vacation time you’ve saved going unused.

Other Exceptions to Consider

In some cases, your retirement date may be decided for you based on extenuating circumstances. If you develop a debilitating illness, for example, you may be forced into retirement if you can no longer perform your duties. Workers can also be nudged into retirement ahead of schedule through downsizing if their job is eliminated.

Thinking about these kinds of what-if scenarios can help you build some contingency plans into your retirement plan. Keep in mind that there may also be different rules and requirements for retirement dates if you work for the government versus a private sector employer.

Starting a Retirement Plan

The best time to start planning for retirement is yesterday, as the common phrase says, and the next best time is right now. If you haven’t started saving yet, it’s not too late to begin building retirement wealth.

An obvious way to do this is to start contributing to your employer’s retirement plan at work. This might be a 401(k) plan, 403(b), or 457 plan depending on where you work. You may also have the option to save in a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA or SIMPLE IRA if you work for a smaller business. Any of these options could help you set aside money for retirement on a tax-advantaged basis.

If you don’t have a workplace retirement plan, you can still save through an IRA. Traditional and Roth IRAs offer different types of tax benefits; the former allows for tax-deductible contributions while latter offers tax-free qualified distributions. You could also open a SEP IRA if you’re self-employed, which offers higher annual contribution limits.

If you decide to start any of these retirement plans, it may be helpful to use a retirement calculator to determine how much you need to save each month to reach your goals. Checking in regularly can help you see whether you are on track to retire or if you need to adjust your contributions or investment targets.

💡 Quick Tip: Can you save for retirement with an automated investment portfolio? Yes. In fact, automated portfolios, or robo advisors, can be used within taxable accounts as well as tax-advantaged retirement accounts.

Retirement Investing With SoFi

Choosing a retirement date is an important decision, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one. Looking at the various factors that can influence how much you’ll need to save and your desired lifestyle can help you pin down your ideal retirement date. Reviewing contributions to your employer’s retirement plan and supplementing them with contributions to an IRA can get you closer to your goals.

Not everyone’s journey to retirement is going to look the same, so you should weigh your options. Think about your goals, and what tools you can use to help you reach them. If you need guidance, it may be a good idea to speak with a financial professional.

Ready to invest for your retirement? It’s easy to get started when you open a traditional or Roth IRA with SoFi. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

For a limited time, opening and funding an Active Invest account gives you the opportunity to get up to $1,000 in the stock of your choice.

FAQ

Is it better to retire at the beginning or end of the month?

Retiring on the last day of the month is typically the best option. This enables you to collect all your paychecks during this period. You may also benefit from collecting any holiday pay that might be offered by your employer for that month. As a note, it doesn’t necessarily matter if the last day of the month is a work day for you.

What is the best day to retire?

The best day to retire can be the end of the month or the end of the year, depending on how pressing your desire is to leave your job. If you can wait until the very last day of the year, for example, you can collect another full year of earnings while maxing out contributions to your workplace retirement plan before you leave.

Is my retirement date my last day of work?

Depending on how your employer handles payroll, your retirement date is usually the day after your last day of work or the first day of the next month following the date you stop working.


Photo credit: iStock/Tatomm

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What Is a Savings Bond?

Savings Bonds Defined And Explained

The definition of a U.S. Savings Bond is an investment in the federal government that helps to increase your money. By purchasing a savings bond, you are essentially lending money to the government which you will get back in the future, when the bond matures, with interest. Because these financial products are backed by the federal government, they are considered to be extremely low-risk. And, in certain situations, there can be tax advantages.

Here’s a closer look at these bonds, including:

•   What are savings bonds?

•   How do savings bonds work?

•   What are the different types of savings bonds?

•   How do you buy and redeem savings bonds?

•   What are the pros and cons of buying savings bonds?

Savings Bond Definition

First, to answer the basic question, “What is a savings bond?”: Basically, it is a loan issued by the U.S. Treasury and made to the U.S. government. Purchase a savings bond, and you are loaning that money to the government. At the end of the bond’s 30-year term, you receive your initial investment plus the compounded interest.

You may withdraw funds before then, as long as the bond has been held for at least five years.

💡 Quick Tip: Help your money earn more money! Opening a bank account online often gets you higher-than-average rates.

How Do Savings Bonds Work?

Savings bonds are issued by the U.S. Treasury. You can buy one for yourself, or for someone else, even if that person is under age 18. (That’s why, when you clean out your closets, you may find a U.S. Savings Bond that was a birthday present from Grandma a long time ago.)

You buy a savings bond for face value, or the principal, and the bond will then pay interest over a specific period of time. Basically, these savings bonds function the same way that other types of bonds work.

•   You can buy savings bonds electronically from the U.S. Treasury’s website, TreasuryDirect.gov . For the most part, it’s not possible to buy paper bonds anymore but should you run across one, you can still redeem them. (See below). Unlike many other types of bonds, like some high-yield bonds, you can’t sell savings bonds or hold them in brokerage accounts.

How Much Are Your Savings Bonds Worth?

If you have a savings bond that has been tucked away for a while and you are wondering what it’s worth, here are your options:

•   If it’s a paper bond, log onto the Treasury Department’s website and use the calculator there to find out the value.

•   If it’s an electronic bond, you will need to create (if you don’t already have one) and log onto your TreasuryDirect account.

Savings Bonds Interest Payments

For U.S. Savings Bonds, interest is earned monthly. The interest is compounded semiannually. This means that every six months, the government will apply the bond’s interest rate to grow the principal. That new, larger principal then earns interest for the next six months, when the interest is again added to the principal, and so on.

3 Different Types of Savings Bonds

There are two types of U.S. Savings Bonds available for purchase — Series EE and Series I savings bonds. Here are the differences between the two.

1. Series EE Bonds

Introduced in 1980, Series EE Bonds earn interest plus a guaranteed return of double their value when held for 20 years. These bonds continue to pay interest for 30 years.

Series EE Bonds issued after May 2005 earn a fixed rate. The current Series EE interest rate for bonds issued as of May 1, 2024 is 2.70%.

2. Series I Bonds

Series I Bonds pay a combination of two rates. The first is the original fixed interest rate. The second is an inflation-adjusted interest rate, which is calculated twice a year using the consumer price index for urban consumers (CPI-U). This adjusted rate is designed to protect bond buyers from inflation eating into the value of the investment.

When you redeem a Series I Bond, you get back the face value plus the accumulated interest. You know the fixed rate when you buy the bond. But the inflation-adjusted rate will vary depending on the CPI-U during times of adjustment.

The current composite rate for Series I Savings Bonds issued as of May 1, 2024 is 4.28%.

3. Municipal Bonds

Municipal bonds are a somewhat different savings vehicle than Series I and Series EE Bonds. Municipal Bonds are issued by a state, municipality, or country to fund capital expenditures. By offering these bonds, projects like highway or school construction can be funded.

These bonds (sometimes called “munis”) are exempt from federal taxes and the majority of local taxes. The market price of bonds will vary with the market, and they typically require a larger investment of, say, $5,000. Municipal bonds are available in different terms, ranging from relatively short (about two to five years) to longer (the typical 30-year length).

How To Buy Bonds

You can buy Series EE and I Savings Bonds directly through the United States Treasury Department online account system called TreasuryDirect, as noted above. This is a little bit different than the way you might buy other types of bonds. You can open an account at TreasuryDirect just as you would a checking or savings account at your local bank.

You can buy either an EE or I Savings Bond in any amount ranging from a $25 minimum in penny increments per year. So, if the spirit moves you, go ahead and buy a bond for $49.99. The flexible increments allow investors to dollar cost average and make other types of calculated purchases.

That said, there are annual maximums on how much you may purchase in savings bonds. The electronic bond maximum is $10,000 for each type. You can buy up to $5,000 in paper Series I Bonds using a tax refund you are eligible for. Paper EE Series bonds are no longer issued.

If you are due a refund and you want to buy I Bonds, be sure to file IRS form 8888 when you file your federal tax return. On that form you’ll specify how much of your refund you want to use to buy paper Series I bonds, keeping in mind the minimum purchase amount for a paper bond is $50. The IRS will then process your return and send you the bond that you indicate you want to buy.

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The Pros & Cons of Investing in Savings Bonds

Here’s a look at the possible benefits and downsides of investing in savings bonds. This will help you decide if buying these bonds is the right path for you, or if you might prefer to otherwise invest your money or stash it in a high-yield bank account.

The Pros of Investing in Savings Bonds

Here are some of the upsides of investing in savings bonds:

•   Low risk. U.S. Savings Bonds are one of the lower risk investments you could make. You are guaranteed to get back the entire amount you invested, known as principal. You will also receive interest if you keep the bonds until maturity.

•   Tax advantages. Savings bond holders don’t pay state or local taxes on interest at any time. You don’t have to pay federal income tax on the interest until you cash in the bond.

•   Education exception. Eligible taxpayers may qualify for a tax break when they use U.S. Savings Bonds to pay for qualified education expenses.

•   No fees. Unlike just about every other type of security, you won’t pay a fee, markup or commission when you buy savings bonds. They’re sold at face value, directly from the Treasury, so what you pay for is what you get. If you buy a $50 bond, for example, you’ll pay $50.

•   Great gift. Unlike most securities, people under age 18 may hold U.S. Savings bonds in their own names. That’s what makes them a popular birthday and graduation gift.

•   Patriotic gesture. Buying a U.S. Savings Bond helps support the U.S. government. That’s something that was important and appealed to investors when these savings bonds were first introduced in 1935.

The Cons of Investing in Savings Bonds

Next, consider these potential downsides of investing in savings bonds:

•   Low return. The biggest disadvantage of savings bonds is their low rate of return, as noted above. A low risk investment like this often pays low returns. You may find you can invest your money elsewhere for a higher return with only slightly higher risk.

•   Purchase limit. For U.S. Savings Bonds, there’s a purchase limit per year of $10,000 in bonds for each series (meaning you can invest a total of $20,000 per year), plus a $5,000 limit for paper I bonds via tax refunds. For some individuals, this might not align with their investing goals.

•   Tax liability. It’s likely you’ll have to pay federal income tax when you cash in your savings bond, unless you’ve used the proceeds for higher education payments.

•   Penalty for early withdrawal. If you cash in your savings bond before five years have elapsed, you will have to pay the previous three months of interest as a fee. You are typically not allowed to cash in a bond before the one-year mark.

Here, a summary of the pros and cons of investing in savings bonds:

Pros of Savings Bonds

Cons of Savings Bonds

•   Low risk

•   Education exception

•   Possible tax advantages

•   No fees

•   Great gift

•   Patriotic gesture

•   Low returns

•   Purchase limit

•   Possible tax liability

•   Penalty for early withdrawal

When Do Savings Bonds Mature?

You may wonder how long it takes for a savings bond to mature. The EE and I savings bonds earn interest for 30 years, until they reach their maturity date.

Recommended: Bonds or CDs: Which Is Smarter for Your Money?

How to Cash in Savings Bonds

You’ll also need to know how and when to redeem a savings bond. These bonds earn interest for 30 years, but you can cash them in penalty-free after five years.

•   If you have a paper bond, you can cash it in at your bank or credit union. Bring the bond and your ID. Or go to the Treasury’s TreasuryDirect site for details on how to cash it in.

•   For electronic bonds, log into your TreasuryDirect account, click on “confirm redemption,” and follow the instructions to deposit the amount to a linked checking or savings account. You will likely get the money within a few business days.

•   If you inherited or found an old U.S. Savings Bond, you may be able to redeem savings bonds through the TreasuryDirect portal or via Treasury Retail Securities Services.

Early Redemption of Bonds

If you cash in a U.S. Savings Bond after one year but before five years, you’ll pay a penalty that is the equivalent of the previous three months of interest. Keep in mind that for EE bonds, if you cash in before holding for 20 years, you lose the opportunity to receive the doubled value of the bond that accrues after 20 years.

The History of US Savings Bonds

America’s savings bond program began under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935, during the Great Depression, with what were known as “baby bonds.” This started the tradition of citizens participating in government financing.

The Series E Saving Bond contributed billions of dollars to financing the World War II effort, and in the post-war years, they became a popular savings vehicle. The fact that they are guaranteed by the U.S. government generally makes them a safe place to stash cash and earn interest.

The Takeaway

U.S. Savings Bonds can be one of the safest ways to invest for the future and show your patriotism. While the interest rates are typically low, for some investors, knowing that the money is being securely held for a couple of decades can really enhance their peace of mind.

Another way to help increase your peace of mind and financial well-being is finding the right banking partner for your deposit product needs.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What is a $50 savings bond worth?

The value of a $50 savings bond will depend on how long it has been held. You can log onto the TreasuryDirect site and use the calculator there to find out the value. As an example, a $50 Series I bond issued in 2000 would be worth more than $211 today.

How long does it take for a $50 savings bond to mature?

The full maturation date of U.S. savings bonds is 30 years.

What is a savings bond?

A savings bond is a secure way of investing in the U.S. government and earning interest. Basically, when you buy a U.S. Savings Bond, you are loaning the government money, which, upon maturity, they pay back with interest.


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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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4.60% APY
SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

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What Is Dividend Yield?

Dividend yield concerns how much an investor realizes from their investments over the course of a year as a result of dividends. Dividends, which are payouts to investors as a share of a company’s overall profit, can help investors generate bigger returns, and some investors even formulate entire strategies around maximizing dividends.

But it’s important to have a good understanding of dividends, dividend yields, and other related concepts before going too far into the weeds.

What Is Dividend Yield?

A stock’s dividend yield is how much the company annually pays out in dividends to shareholders, relative to its stock price. The dividend yield is a financial ratio (dividend/price) expressed as a percentage, and is distinct from the dividend itself.

Dividend payments are expressed as a dollar amount, and supplement the return a stock produces over the course of a year. For an investor interested in total return, learning how to calculate dividend yield for different companies can help to decide which company may be a better investment.

But bear in mind that a stock’s dividend yield will tend to fluctuate because it’s based on the stock’s price, which rises and falls. That’s why a higher dividend yield may not be a sign of better value.

How Does Dividend Yield Differ From Dividends?

It’s important to really drive home the difference between dividend yield and dividends in general.

Dividends are a portion of a company’s earnings paid to investors and expressed as a dollar amount. Dividends are typically paid out each quarter (although semi-annual and monthly payouts are common). Not all companies pay dividends.

Dividend yield, on the other hand, refers to a stock’s annual dividend payments divided by the stock’s current price, and expressed as a percentage. Dividend yield is one way of assessing a company’s earning potential.

How to Calculate Dividend Yield

Calculating the dividend yield of an investment is useful for investors who want to compare companies and the dividends they pay. For investors looking for investments to help supplement their cash flow, or even to possibly live off dividend income, a higher dividend yield on a stock would be more attractive than a lower one.

What Is the Dividend Yield Formula?

The dividend yield formula is more of a basic calculation than a formula: Dividend yield is calculated by taking the annual dividend paid per share, and dividing it by the stock’s current price:

Annual dividend / stock price = Dividend yield (%)

Dividend Yield Formula

How to Calculate Annual Dividends

Investors can calculate the annual dividend of a given company by looking at its annual report, or its quarterly report, finding the dividend payout per quarter, and multiplying that number by four. For a stock with fluctuating dividend payments, it may make sense to take the four most recent quarterly dividends to arrive at the trailing annual dividend.

It’s important to consider how often dividends are paid out. If dividends are paid monthly vs. quarterly, you want to add up the last 12 months of dividends.

This is especially important because some companies pay uneven dividends, with the higher payouts toward the end of the year, for example. So you wouldn’t want to simply add up the last few dividend payments without checking to make sure the total represents an accurate annual dividend amount.

Example of Dividend Yield

If Company A’s stock trades at $70 today, and the company’s annual dividend is $2 per share, the dividend yield is 2.85% ($2 / $70 = 0.0285).

Compare that to Company B, which is trading at $40, also with an annual dividend of $2 per share. The dividend yield of Company B would be 5% ($2 / $40 = 0.05).

In theory, the higher yield of Company B may look more appealing. But investors can’t determine a stock’s worth by yield alone.

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Dividend Yield: Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Can help with company valuation. Dividend yield can indicate a more established, but slower-growing company.
May indicate how much income investors can expect. Higher yield may mask deeper problems.
Yield doesn’t tell investors the type of dividend (ordinary vs. qualified), which can impact taxes.

For investors, there are some advantages and disadvantages to using dividend yield as a metric that helps inform investment choices.

Pros

•   From a valuation perspective, dividend yield can be a useful point of comparison. If a company’s dividend yield is substantially different from its industry peers, or from the company’s own typical levels, that can be an indicator of whether the company is trading at the right valuation.

•   For many investors, the primary reason to invest in dividend stocks is for income. In that respect, dividend yield can be an important metric. But dividend yield can change as the underlying stock price changes. So when using dividend yield as a way to evaluate income, it’s important to be aware of company fundamentals that provide assurance as to company stability and consistency of the dividend payout.

Cons

•   Sometimes a higher dividend yield can indicate slower growth. Companies with higher dividends are often larger, more established businesses. But that could also mean that dividend-generous companies are not growing very quickly because they’re not reinvesting their earnings.

Smaller companies with aggressive growth targets are less likely to offer dividends, but rather spend their excess capital on expansion. Thus, investors focused solely on dividend income could miss out on some faster-growing opportunities.

•   A high dividend yield could indicate a troubled company. Because of how dividend yield is calculated, the yield is higher as the stock price falls, so it’s important to evaluate whether there has been a downward price trend. Often, when a company is in trouble, one of the first things it is likely to reduce or eliminate is that dividend.

•   Investors need to look beyond yield to the type of dividend they might get. An investor might be getting high dividend payouts, but if they’re ordinary dividends vs. qualified dividends they’ll be taxed at a higher rate. Ordinary dividends are taxed as income; qualified dividends are taxed at the lower capital gains rate, which typically ranges from 0% to 20%. If you have tax questions about your investments, be sure to consult with a tax professional.

The Difference Between Dividend Yield and Dividend Rate

As noted earlier, a dividend is a way for a company to distribute some of its earnings among shareholders. Dividends can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or even annually (although quarterly payouts tend to be common in the U.S.). Dividends are expressed as dollar amounts. The dividend rate is the annual amount of the company’s dividend per share.

A company that pays $1 per share, quarterly, has an annual dividend rate of $4 per share.

The difference between this straight-up dollar amount and a company’s dividend yield is that the latter is a ratio. The dividend yield is the company’s annual dividend divided by the current stock price, and expressed as a percentage.

What Is a Good Dividend Yield?

dividend yield of sp500 vs dividend aristocrats

Two companies with the same high yields are not created equally. While dividend yield is an important number for investors to know when determining the annual cash flow they can expect from their investments, there are deeper indicators that investors may want to investigate to see if a dividend-paying stock will continue to pay in the future.

A History of Dividend Growth

When researching dividend stocks, one place to start is by asking if the stock has a history of dividend growth. A regularly increasing dividend is an indication of earnings growth and typically a good indicator of a company’s overall financial health.

The Dividend Aristocracy

There is a group of S&P 500 stocks called Dividend Aristocrats, which have increased the dividends they pay for at least 25 consecutive years. Every year the list changes, as companies raise and lower their dividends.

Currently, there are 65 companies that meet the basic criteria of increasing their dividend for a quarter century straight. They include big names in energy, industrial production, real estate, defense contractors, and more. For investors looking for steady dividends, this list may be a good place to start.

Dividend Payout Ratio (DPR)

Investors can calculate the dividend payout ratio by dividing the total dividends paid in a year by the company’s net income. By looking at this ratio over a period of years, investors can learn to differentiate among the dividend stocks in their portfolios.

A company with a relatively low DPR is paying dividends, while still investing heavily in the growth of its business. If a company’s DPR is rising, that’s a sign the company’s leadership likely sees more value in rewarding shareholders than in expanding. If its DPR is shrinking, it’s a sign that management sees an abundance of new opportunities abounding. In extreme cases, where a company’s DPR is 100% or higher, it’s unlikely that the company will be around for much longer.

Other Indicators of Company Health

Other factors to consider include the company’s debt load, credit rating, and the cash it keeps on hand to manage unexpected shocks. And as with every equity investment, it’s important to look at the company’s competitive position in its sector, the growth prospects of that sector as a whole, and how it fits into an investor’s overall plan. Those factors will ultimately determine the company’s ability to continue paying its dividend.

💡 Quick Tip: The best stock trading app? That’s a personal preference, of course. Generally speaking, though, a great app is one with an intuitive interface and powerful features to help make trades quickly and easily.

The Takeaway

Dividend yield is a simple calculation: You divide the annual dividend paid per share by the stock’s current price. Dividend yield is expressed as a percentage, versus the dividend (or dividend rate) which is given as a dollar amount. The dividend yield formula can be a valuable tool for investors, and not just ones who are seeking cash flow from their investments.

Dividend yield can help assess a company’s valuation relative to its peers, but there are other factors to consider when researching stocks that pay out dividends. A history of dividend growth and a good dividend payout ratio (DPR), as well as the company’s debt load, cash on hand, and credit rating can help form an overall picture of a company’s health and probability of paying out higher dividends in the future.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

For a limited time, opening and funding an Active Invest account gives you the opportunity to get up to $1,000 in the stock of your choice.


SoFi Invest®
INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit 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.

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.

Claw Promotion: Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $25 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. See full terms and conditions.

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15 Technical Indicators for Stock Trading

7 Technical Indicators for Stock Trading

One way traders seek to profit from short-term movements in security prices is by using technical analysis.

While some stock analysis tools examine company fundamentals, technical stock indicators identify patterns in price and volume data to give investors and traders insights about how a stock might move in the future.

For that reason, although technical indicators can assist with trend identification, it’s best to combine different indicators when conducting stock analysis.

How Do Stock Technical Indicators Work?

Technical analysis uses various sets of data and indicators, such as price and volume, to identify patterns and trends. This type of stock market analysis is different from fundamental analysis, which looks at company financials, industry trends, and macroeconomics.

Rather, technical analysis solely analyzes a stock’s performance. Stock technical indicators are often rendered as a pattern that can overlay a stock’s price chart to predict the market trend, and whether the stock would be considered “overbought” or “oversold.”

Two Main Types of Technical Indicators

Stock technical indicators generally come in two flavors: overlay indicators and oscillators.

Overlay Indicators

An overlay indicator typically overlays one trend onto another on a stock chart, often using different colors to distinguish between the lines.

Oscillator Indicators

An oscillator typically uses metrics such as a stock’s price or trading volume to determine momentum, or rate of change, over time. It uses this info to generate a signal, or trend line, whose fluctuations between two values in a range can indicate if a stock may be overbought or oversold.

If the trend line moves above the higher value of the range, it can indicate a stock is overbought, while dipping below the lower value can indicate it’s oversold. The movements of the trend line thus can help traders determine support and resistance in certain price trends, so they can decide whether to sell or buy (support being the price at which a downturn generally bounces back up, and resistance being the point at which rising prices generally start to fall).

Oscillator indicators can be leading or lagging:

•   A leading indicator tracks current market movements to anticipate where the trend is headed next.

•   A lagging indicator is based on recent history and seeks patterns that will indicate potential price movements.

The moving average is a common oscillator; it’s considered a lagging indicator as it measures specific intervals in the past.

Naturally, every stock indicator has its pros and cons. Various trading indicators can be used by investors to analyze supply and demand forces on stock price, to help shed light on market psychology, or to manage risk.

But while stock indicators and trading tools can help with buy and sell points, false signals can also occur.

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*Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $25 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. See full terms and conditions.

Reasons to Use Stock Market Indicators

Knowing some of the most popular trading tools might benefit your investing strategy by providing you with easier-to-spot buy and sell signals. You don’t have to know every single technical indicator, and there are many ways to analyze stocks, but using multiple stock indicators may help you improve trading results.

You can also use these stock indicators to help you manage risk when you are actively trading.

Price trend indicators are some of the most important technical trading tools since identifying a security price’s trend is often a first step to forming a trading strategy. Long positions are often initiated during uptrends, while short sale opportunities can occur when prices are in a downtrend.

Volume trend indicators are also helpful to gauge the power or conviction of an asset’s price move. Some believe that the higher the stock volume on a bullish breakout or bearish breakdown, the more confident the move is. Higher volume could signal a lengthier trend continuation.

💡 Quick Tip: All investments come with some degree of risk — and some are riskier than others. Before investing online, decide on your investment goals and how much risk you want to take.

7 Stock Indicators for Technical Analysis

It’s important to remember that these trading tools were developed based on the belief that mathematically derived patterns may be valuable as predictors of stock movements. Past performance, however, is not a guarantee of future results. So while it can be useful to employ stock technical indicators, they are best used in combination before deciding on a potential trade.

Also, many of these trading tools are lagging indicators, which can lead to an inaccurate reflection of current and future market conditions.

Following are seven of the most common technical stock indicators, along with their advantages and disadvantages.

1. Moving Averages (MA)

A moving average (MA) is the average value of a security over a specific time. The MA can be:

•   Simple Moving Average (SMA)

•   Exponential Moving Average (EMA)

•   Weighted Moving Average (WMA).

A moving average smooths stock price volatility, and is taken as an indicator of the direction a price may be headed. If the price is above the moving average, it’s considered an uptrend versus when the price moves below the MA, which can signal a downtrend.

Moving averages are typically used in combination with each other, or other stock indicators, to identify trends.

Pros

•   Using moving averages can filter out the noise that comes from price fluctuations and focus on the overall trend.

•   Moving average crossovers are commonly used to pinpoint trend changes.

•   You can customize moving average periods: common time frames include 20-day, 30-day, 50-day, 100-day, 200-day.

Cons

•   A simple moving average may not help some traders as much as an exponential moving average (EMA), which puts more weight on recent price changes.

•   Market turbulence can make the MA less informative.

•   Moving averages can be simple, exponential, or weighted, which might be confusing to new traders.

2. Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD)

The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) helps investors gauge whether a security’s movement is bullish or bearish, and helps gauge the momentum of the trend. The MACD uses two different exponential moving averages (EMAs) to do so.

A 26-period EMA is subtracted from a short-term 12-period EMA to generate the MACD line. Then a signal line, based on a nine-day EMA, is plotted on top of the MACD to help reveal buy and sell entry points.

If the MACD line crosses above the signal line, that can signal a buy opportunity. If it crosses below the signal line, that could signal a price decline and an opportunity to sell or take a short position.

Pros

•   The MACD, used in combination with the relative strength index (below) can help identify overbought or oversold conditions.

•   It can be used to indicate a trend and also momentum.

•   Can help spot reversals.

Cons

•   The MACD might provide false reversal signals.

•   It responds mainly to the speed of price movements; less accurate in gauging the direction of a trend.

3. Relative Strength Index (RSI)

The relative strength index or RSI is an oscillator tool that looks at price fluctuations in a given period and calculates average price losses and gains. It ranges from 0 to 100. Generally, above 70 is considered overbought and under 30 is thought to be oversold.

Traders often use the RSI in conjunction with the MACD to confirm a price trend. The RSI can sometimes identify a divergence, when the indicator moves in opposition to the price; this can show the price trend is weakening.

Pros

•   An RSI can help investors spot buy or sell signals.

•   It may also help detect bull market or bear market trends.

•   It can be combined with moving average indicators to spot breakout trends or reversals.

Cons

•   The RSI can move without exhibiting a clear trend.

•   The RSI can remain at an overbought or oversold level for a long time, making this tool less useful.

•   It does not give clues as to volume trends.

Recommended: 5 Bullish Indicators for a Stock

4. Stochastic Oscillator

Traders will often use the stochastic oscillator, which is a momentum indicator, to determine whether a given security is overbought or oversold. The stochastic oscillator allows traders to compare a specific closing price of a security to a range of its prices over a certain time frame.

By using a stochastic chart, traders can gauge the momentum of a security’s price with the aim of anticipating trends and reversals. A stochastic oscillator uses a range of 0 to 100 to determine if an asset is overbought (when the measurements are above 80) or oversold (when the measurement is below 20).

Pros

•   Clearer entry/exit signals: The oscillator has a basic design and generates visual signals when it reaches the outer bounds of a price range. This can help a trader determine when it may be time to buy or to sell stocks.

•   Frequent signals: For more active traders who trade on intraday charts such as the 5-, 10-, or 15-minute time frames, the stochastic oscillator generates signals more often as price action oscillates in smaller ranges.

•   Easy to understand: The oscillator’s fluctuating lines are fairly clear for investors who know how to use them.

Cons

•   Possible false signals: Depending on the time settings chosen, traders may misperceive a sharp oscillation as a buy or sell signal, especially if it goes against the trend. This is more common during periods of market volatility.

•   Doesn’t measure the trend or direction: It calculates the strength or weakness of price action in a market, not the overall trend or direction.

💡 Quick Tip: When you’re actively investing in stocks, it’s important to ask what types of fees you might have to pay. For example, brokers may charge a flat fee for trading stocks, or require some commission for every trade. Taking the time to manage investment costs can be beneficial over the long term.

5. On-Balance Volume (OBV)

OBV is a little different from the other indicators mentioned. It primarily uses volume flow to gauge future price action on a security or market. When there’s a new OBV peak, it generally indicates that buyers are strong, sellers are weak, and the price of the security may increase.

Similarly, a new OBV low is taken to mean that sellers are strong and buyers are weak, and the price is trending down.

The numerical value of the OBV isn’t important — it’s the direction that matters. In that respect it can be used as a trend confirmation tool. It can also signal divergences, when the price and the volume move in opposite directions.

Pros

•   Volume-based indicator gauges market sentiment to predict a bullish or bearish outcome.

•   OBV can be used to confirm price action and identify divergences.

Cons

•   It can be hard to find definitive buy and sell price levels.

•   False signals can happen when divergences and confirmations fail.

•   Volume surges can distort the indicator for short-term traders.

Recommended: How to Find Portfolio Beta

6. Accumulation / Distribution Line (ADL)

The accumulation/distribution line (ADL) looks at the trading range for a certain stock, and uses price and volume data to gauge whether shares are being accumulated or distributed. Like OBV it also looks for divergences, so that if a price trend isn’t supported by volume flow it could indicate the trend is about to reverse.

Although this sounds similar to OBV, they are calculated differently, and the ADL gives more attention to price and volume data within a specified range.

Pros

•   Traders can use the ADL to spot divergences in price compared with volume that can confirm price trends or signal reversals.

•   The ADL can be used as an indicator of the flow of cash in the market.

Cons

•   It doesn’t capture trading gaps or factor in their impact.

•   Smaller changes in volume are hard to detect.

7. Standard Deviation

Standard deviation measures the extent to which a data point deviates from an expected value, i.e. the mean return. When used as a technical indicator, standard deviation is a common stock volatility measure; it refers to how far a stock’s performance varies from its average.

Investors often measure an investment’s volatility by the standard deviation of returns compared with a broader market index or past returns.

Pros

•   Standard deviation mathematically captures the volatility of a stock’s movements, i.e. how far the price moves from the mean.

•   It provides technicians with an estimate for expected price movements.

•   It can be used to measure expected risk and return.

Cons

•   It does not provide precise buy and sell signals.

•   It must be used in conjunction with other indicators.

The Takeaway

Technical analysis tools use past price and volume data to help traders identify price trends and make buy and sell decisions. It’s important to know that technical analysis does not use fundamentals to assess the underlying companies, their industries, or any macroeconomic trends that might drive their success or failure. Rather, technical analysis solely analyzes the movement and volume inherent in a stock’s performance.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).

Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

FAQ

What is the most popular technical indicator for stocks?

Traders typically combine technical indicators, so it’s difficult to point to one as being a top choice. That said, many traders use the moving average indicators in combination with others to gauge price trends.

What is the most accurate indicator of the stock market?

There is no single indicator that can anticipate overall stock market performance. In fact, it’s an important factor to keep in mind when using technical indicators: For every successful price prediction or winning trade, there are countless others that don’t pan out. There are no crystal balls.

Which indicator gives buy and sell signals?

Different traders favor different indicators when looking for signals about how to place a trade. That said, the stochastic oscillator is relatively clear-cut in that it can help traders identify buy and sell opportunities based on price closes and trends within a certain range.


Photo credit: iStock/staticnak1983

SoFi Invest®
INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit 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.

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.

Disclaimer: The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

SOIN-Q224-1840581-V1

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Guide to Meme Stock Investing in 2021

What Are Meme Stocks? Guide to Meme Stock Investing

Shares of GameStop, as well as other similarly meme-driven stocks such as AMC, Koss BlackBerry, and Koss Corp., spiked in mid-May after the reappearance of “Roaring Kitty” on social media.

A post on the X platform by Keith Gill (known as Roaring Kitty) of a popular gaming meme signifying “things are getting serious” is believed to have reignited the meme stock phenomenon that had boosted GameStop shares more than 1,000% back in 2021. At the time, online investors rallied together to create a massive short squeeze that befuddled traditional investors and made headlines across the globe.

Meme stocks are stocks that go viral on social media platforms and quickly increase in price. Meme stocks have gotten a lot of attention in recent years, especially since the pandemic.

What is a meme stock exactly? Read on to find out more about meme stock investing.

Key Points

•   Meme stocks are shares of companies that gain popularity through social media, leading to viral status and rapid price increases.

•   These stocks are heavily influenced by retail investors’ sentiments rather than the company’s fundamental value.

•   The volatility of meme stocks is high, making them a risky investment choice.

•   Trading in meme stocks surged during the pandemic, with platforms like Reddit driving significant price swings.

•   Meme stock movements can lead to substantial market impacts, including short squeezes that can negatively impact institutional investors.

What Is a Meme Stock?

Meme stocks are company stocks that have gone viral due to popularity among retail investors on social-media platforms.

In a traditional buy-and-hold strategy, investors seek stocks whose shares appear undervalued relative to the company’s fundamental worth or growth potential. In contrast, prices of meme stocks are closely tied to sentiment and chatter among day traders on the Internet, rather than the value of the underlying business. Meme stocks can be extremely volatile and risky.

Common Meme Stock Terminology

Meme stocks have a specific terminology that those who invest in them use. These are a few of the common terms:

Apes: These are members of the meme stock community

Diamond hands: This refers to hanging onto a stock, even if it suffers losses, because the investor thinks the price will go back up.

Hold the line: This is about standing your ground with meme stocks and holding onto them, despite volatility.

Tendies: Profits made in meme stock. The word is a play on chicken tenders.

To the moon: The belief that the stock will rise sky high.


💡 Quick Tip: Look for an online brokerage with low trading commissions as well as no account minimum. Higher fees can cut into investment returns over time.

Get up to $1,000 in stock when you fund a new Active Invest account.*

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*Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $25 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. See full terms and conditions.

Background on Meme Stocks

In the past, before the pandemic, when it came to institutional investors vs. retail ones, the former were thought to hold clout in markets. After all, the top 10 largest institutional investors at that time made up 43% of the average public company’s ownership, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

But in 2021, small investors showed they could be a force to be reckoned with, coordinating trades on Internet platforms like Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, or Discord to fuel big price swings. These investors also helped drive moves in different types of cryptocurrencies as well as SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies.

In January 2021, Investors on the Reddit forum “r/wallstreetbets” banded together and triggered a short squeeze in GameStop Corp., a popular short among hedge funds. When an investor or trader is shorting a stock, it means they’re wagering that the price of the shares will fall. A short squeeze refers to rapid price gains in a stock, as traders exit their bearish positions at a loss en masse.

Retail investors succeeded in triggering a short squeeze and losses for hedge funds, who then turned to trying to monitor social-media forums in order to spot the next meme stock.

However, controversy ensued when some brokerage firms halted trading in some meme stocks, citing an inability to post collateral at clearinghouses. Such moves led to angry retail investors and day traders and congressional hearings that looked into brokerage practices such as payment for order flow.

Recommended: A Guide to Wallstreetbets Terminology

How Does a Stock Become a Meme?

A stock becomes a meme when it goes viral. It may become popular on online platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube. A meme stock can gain a following in discussion groups in these platforms, and the online communities can fuel price swings in the stock.

Examples of Meme Stocks

The first major meme stock example was GameStop Corp., as mentioned above. Investors on the Reddit forum “r/wallstreetbets” banded together. They triggered a short squeeze, which drove up the price of the stock. In January 2021, GameStop stock went as high as $120.75 at one point.

May 2024 saw a surge of interest in the stock once again, when Roaring Kitty (a key figure in the original short squeeze) returned to social media after a three year absence.

Other meme stocks have included AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., a movie theater chain; Blackberry Limited, the smartphone maker; and Bed, Bath and Beyond, Inc.

Pros and Cons of Trading Meme Stocks

Benefits of Trading Meme Stocks

1.    Rise of Retail Trader: Retail investors have shown they need to be taken more seriously by the rest of the market.

2.    Younger Investors: Given the hyper-online ways in which meme stocks come about, younger investors have learned more about investing and trading through these social-media fads. Still, it’s unclear whether meme stocks will help engender healthy long-term financial planning habits for beginner investors in their 20s.

Risks of Trading Meme Stocks

1.    Lack of Fundamentals: Meme stocks tend to go viral not because of the performance or potential of the underlying business, but because of the sometimes irrational enthusiasm of retail investors and day traders. That puts meme-stock investors at greater risk of downward share performance, if the fundamentals of the business disappoint when the economy or markets dip.

2.    High Volatility: Studies have shown that passive, diversified investments tend to outperform active trading over the long term. The volatility of meme stocks means that investors are at greater risk of locking in losses or seeing their portfolios underperform in the near term. Take for instance, when trading was halted on GameStop, investors potentially couldn’t execute sell orders.

3.    Potential Stock Dilution: In some cases, meme-stock companies have tried to take advantage of higher valuations by issuing new shares. In such examples, it’s important that investors understand stock dilution, which occurs when the number of outstanding shares increases and every shareholder ends up owning a less significant piece.


💡 Quick Tip: When you’re actively investing in stocks, it’s important to ask what types of fees you might have to pay. For example, brokers may charge a flat fee for trading stocks, or require some commission for every trade. Taking the time to manage investment costs can be beneficial over the long term.

How to Trade Meme Stocks

Single-name stocks are also not the only ways investors can get exposure to meme stocks. Options trading in meme stocks tend to be liquid, often allowing investors to buy and sell calls and puts easily.

If an investor doesn’t want to research or follow specific meme stocks, another way to get exposure to the phenomenon is by buying an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that holds companies popular on brokerage platforms.

In addition, here are some precautions that investors can take when trading meme stocks:

1.    Diversify Your Portfolio: Rather than just holding meme stocks in their portfolios, investors may benefit from also getting exposure to more broad-based ETFs, blue-chip stocks, or dividend-paying companies. Such stocks tend to post more muted price moves, which may help offset the volatility of meme stocks.

2.    Set Stop-Loss Orders: Investors can pre-set orders so that a meme stock automatically gets sold if it hits a certain price. A stop-loss order can be used to lock-in profits, so if the shares rise, or to limit losses, if the stock’s price falls.

The Takeaway

In 2021 during Covid-19, the proliferation of zero-commission brokerage accounts and stay-at-home orders led to an individual-investor surge.

Sometimes, individual traders target companies with high short interest to turn into meme stocks. Certain meme stocks like GameStop and AMC capture news headlines by posting rapid, colossal gains, but once the trading frenzy subsides, many meme stocks also plummet. Investors may want to consider other, less risky investments for their portfolio.

Ready to invest in your goals? It’s easy to get started when you open an investment account with SoFi Invest. You can invest in stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative funds, and more. SoFi doesn’t charge commissions, but other fees apply (full fee disclosure here).


Invest with as little as $5 with a SoFi Active Investing account.

FAQ

What is a meme stock rally?

A meme stock rally is when a meme stock that became popular through social media skyrockets in price.

What is a meme stock ETF?

Meme stock ETFs are exchange-traded funds based around meme stocks. ETF meme holdings are made up of primarily meme stocks.

What investment strategy should you use for meme stocks?

Investing in meme stocks can be extremely risky. If you do decide to invest in them, you may benefit from also having other assets, such as ETFs or blue-chip stocks, in your portfolio to help diversify it. That may help offset the volatility of meme stocks.


Photo credit: iStock/RgStudio

SoFi Invest®
INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC INSURED • ARE NOT BANK GUARANTEED • MAY LOSE VALUE
SoFi Invest encompasses two distinct companies, with various products and services offered to investors as described below: Individual customer accounts may be subject to the terms applicable to one or more of these platforms.
1) Automated Investing and advisory services are provided by SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser (“SoFi Wealth“). Brokerage services are provided to SoFi Wealth LLC by SoFi Securities LLC.
2) Active Investing and brokerage services are provided by SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA (www.finra.org)/SIPC(www.sipc.org). Clearing and custody of all securities are provided by APEX Clearing Corporation.
For additional disclosures related to the SoFi Invest platforms described above please visit 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.

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.

Disclaimer: The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.
Claw Promotion: Customer must fund their Active Invest account with at least $25 within 30 days of opening the account. Probability of customer receiving $1,000 is 0.028%. See full terms and conditions.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Investment Risk: Diversification can help reduce some investment risk. It cannot guarantee profit, or fully protect in a down market.

Options involve risks, including substantial risk of loss and the possibility an investor may lose the entire amount invested in a short period of time. Before an investor begins trading options they should familiarize themselves with the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options . Tax considerations with options transactions are unique, investors should consult with their tax advisor to understand the impact to their taxes.
Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): Investors should carefully consider the information contained in the prospectus, which contains the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other relevant information. You may obtain a prospectus from the Fund company’s website or by email customer service at [email protected]. Please read the prospectus carefully prior to investing.
Shares of ETFs must be bought and sold at market price, which can vary significantly from the Fund’s net asset value (NAV). Investment returns are subject to market volatility and shares may be worth more or less their original value when redeemed. The diversification of an ETF will not protect against loss. An ETF may not achieve its stated investment objective. Rebalancing and other activities within the fund may be subject to tax consequences.


Advisory services are offered through SoFi Wealth LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser. Information about SoFi Wealth’s advisory operations, services, and fees is set forth in SoFi Wealth’s current Form ADV Part 2 (Brochure), a copy of which is available upon request and at adviserinfo.sec.gov .

Fund Fees
If you invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) through SoFi Invest (either by buying them yourself or via investing in SoFi Invest’s automated investments, formerly SoFi Wealth), these funds will have their own management fees. These fees are not paid directly by you, but rather by the fund itself. these fees do reduce the fund’s returns. Check out each fund’s prospectus for details. SoFi Invest does not receive sales commissions, 12b-1 fees, or other fees from ETFs for investing such funds on behalf of advisory clients, though if SoFi Invest creates its own funds, it could earn management fees there.
SoFi Invest may waive all, or part of any of these fees, permanently or for a period of time, at its sole discretion for any reason. Fees are subject to change at any time. The current fee schedule will always be available in your Account Documents section of SoFi Invest.

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