How Does a Wealth Management Account Work?

Wealth management accounts are types of investment accounts that are managed by a professional, who coordinates the rebalancing and reallocation of assets in a portfolio. They are usually a part of a larger financial plan, often overseen by a manager or advisor.

A wealth management account is one way to help simplify investing and financial planning. But there are things investors should know, such as the costs involved, and any potential pitfalls.

What Is A Wealth Management Account?

A wealth management account is generally a form of advisory account that allows for the input and coordination of a financial advisor or planner. While there are many different types of asset management accounts, historically, many of these accounts have been available only to those with significant wealth or assets to manage.

If you’ve avoided opening a wealth management account because of high investing minimums, you should know that there are an increasing number of types of investing accounts on the market for individuals of various income levels. That’s to say that though there may be investment fees in the mix, it may be worth it to discuss the options available to you with a financial professional.

Based on your personal investment strategy, which may be developed with the help of a professional, a wealth management account may be used to invest your money in different assets.




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Why Invest with a Wealth Management Account?

Using a wealth management account may help some investors stay on track and stick to a financial plan. Working with a manager, too, can help take some of the pressure off of investors who may be having difficulties deciding how to invest.

Some people may choose not to invest at all, which might stymie their progress toward reaching financial goals. As such, a wealth manager or advisor may use a wealth management account to help those investors, and invest their assets where they have the best opportunity to grow. While rates of return cannot be guaranteed, and it is possible that investments will lose money, over time, money tends to grow when left in the market.

In effect, investing is a way to allow your money to work for you.

How Does Investing with a Wealth Management Account Work?

As noted, a wealth management account works in conjunction with a larger financial plan – one that a wealth management or financial professional likely lays out with you after learning more about your goals. They’re holistic accounts, taking into account applicable taxes and fees, and one in which a manager or advisor selects and manages investments on an individual’s behalf.

Once you have an investment plan in place, a wealth manager could build you a portfolio from a wide selection of assets, such as stocks, bonds, ETFs, and more. From there, a wealth manager will keep an eye on your portfolio, make changes as necessary, and incorporate an investor’s feedback.

How Do Financial Planners Help with Wealth Management Accounts?

As discussed, financial professionals or wealth managers offer a guiding hand in not only determining your financial goals, but figuring out the best investment strategy to help you reach them. That will all depend on a number of factors, including your age, risk tolerance, and more. But, ultimately, a financial professional will be able to make decisions based on market conditions and your portfolio’s makeup to help you reach certain financial milestones.

There’s always a chance that they could fail, that they offer bad advice, that your portfolio loses money, or that you could end up paying more than anticipated in fees and commissions, however. That’s something investors will need to take into consideration. But overall, a wealth management account is typically designed for an investor who wants a professional to offer guidance, and take some of the work out of managing a 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).

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

Are wealth management accounts worth it?

A wealth management account may be worth it to an investor if the investor wants a professional to offer guidance and make actual investments for them, as opposed to doing it themselves. Whether it’s worth it is ultimately up to the individual.

How much money do you need to open a wealth management account?

The amount of money needed to open a wealth management account varies from firm to firm, but generally, investors will need a minimum of around $25,000 to get started.

What is the typical wealth management fee?

Depending on the specific firm and financial professional an investor is working with, wealth management fees average around 1% of the assets being managed.


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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The Rule of 72: Understanding Its Significance in Investing

The Rule of 72 is a shortcut equation to help you figure out just how long it will take to double an investment at a given rate of return. Best of all, the math is easy to do without the help of a calculator.

In short, the Rule of 72 can help investors determine whether an investment may have a place in their overall investment strategy, and how to proceed.

What Is the Rule of 72?

As noted, the Rule of 72 helps investors understand how different types of investments might figure into their investment plans. The basic formula for the rule is:

Number of years to double an investment = 72 / Interest rate

In the case of investing, the interest rate is the rate of return on an investment. For example, an investor has $10,000 to invest in an investment that offers a 6% rate of return. That investment would double in 72 / 6 = 12 years. Twelve years after making an initial investment, the investor would have $20,000.

Notice that when making this calculation, investors divide by six, not 6% or 0.06. Dividing by 0.06 would indicate 1,200 years to double the investment, an outlandishly long time.

This shorthand allows investors to quickly compare investments and understand whether their rate of return will help them meet their financial goals within a desired time horizon.

Who Came Up with the Rule of 72?

The Rule of 72 is not new, in fact, it dates back to the late 1400s, when it was referenced in a mathematics book by Luca Pacioli. The Rule itself, though, could date even further back. Albert Einstein is often credited with its invention, however.


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The Formula and Calculation of the Rule of 72

The Rule of 72 is a shortened version of a logarithmic equation that involves complex functions you would need a scientific calculator to calculate. That formula looks like this:

T = ln(2) / ln(1 + r / 100)

In this equation, T equals time to double, ln is the natural log function, and r is the compounded interest rate.

This calculation is too complicated for the average investor to perform on the fly, and it turns out 72 divided by r is a close approximation that works especially well for lower rates of return. The higher the rate of return — as the rate nears 100% — the less accurate the Rule of 72 gets.

Example of the Rule of 72 Calculation

For a relatively simple equation, the Rule of 72 can help investors figure out a lot of helpful information. For one, it can help them compare different types of investments that offer different rates of returns.

For example, an investor has $25,000 to invest and plans to retire in 20 years. In order to meet a certain retirement goal, that investor needs to at least double their money to $50,000 in that time period.

The same investor is presented with two investment options: One offers a 3% return and one offers a 4% return. The investor can quickly see that at 3% the investment will double in 72 / 3 = 24 years, four years past their retirement date. The investment with a 4% return will double their money in 72 / 4 = 18 years, giving them two years of leeway before they retire.

The investor can see that when choosing between the two options, choosing the 4% rate of return will help them reach their financial goals, while the 3% return will leave them short.

Applying the Rule of 72 in Investment Planning

There are numerous instances in which the Rule of 72 can be applied to investment planning. But it’s also important to understand a bit about how simple and compound interest differ, and come into play when using the Rule to make projections.

Remember, there are two types of interest rates: simple interest and compound interest.

Simple interest is calculated using only the principal or starting amount. For example, an individual opens an account with $1,000 and a 1% simple interest rate. At the end of the year, they will have $1,010 in their bank account. But they’ll only earn 1% each year on their principal, aka that initial $1,000.

So even over a longer time period, the individual isn’t earning very much—after 10 years, for example, they will have accumulated a total of $1,100.

Simple interest may be even easier to conceptualize as a savings account from which an individual withdraws the interest each year.

In the example above the individual would withdraw $10 at the end of the year and start again with $1,000 the next year. Every year after that, they would start over with the same principal and earn the same amount in interest.

Compound interest, on the other hand, can help investments grow exponentially. That’s because it incorporates the interest earned on an investment in addition to the initial investment. In other words, an investor earns a return on their returns.

To get an idea of the power of compound interest it might help to explore a compound interest calculator, which allows users to input principal, interest rate, and compounding period.

For example, an individual invests that same $1,000 at a 6% interest rate for 30 years with interest compounding annually. At the end of the investment period, they will have made more than $5,700 without making any additional investments.

That fact is important to consider when conceptualizing the Rule of 72, because compound interest plays a big role in helping an investment double in value within a given time frame. It can help achieve high reward with relatively little effort.

Practical Uses in Financial Projections

Higher returns are often correlated with higher risk. So this rule can help investors gauge whether their risk tolerance — or their return on investment — is high enough to get them to their goal. Depending on what their time horizon is, investors can easily see whether they need to bump up their risk tolerance and choose investments that offer higher returns.

By the same token, this rule can help investors understand if their time horizon is long enough at a certain rate of return. For example, the investor in the above example is already invested in the instrument that offers 3%.

The Rule of 72 can illustrate that they may need to rethink their timeline for when they will retire, pushing it past 20 years. Alternatively, they could sell their current investments and buy a new investment that offers a higher rate of return.

It’s also important to understand that the Rule of 72 does not take into account additional savings that may be made to the principal investment. So if it becomes clear that the goal won’t be met at the current savings rate, an investor will be able to consider how much extra money to set aside to help reach the goal.

Estimating Investment Doubling Times

Using the Rule of 72 to estimate investment doubling times can be a little tricky, and perhaps inaccurate, unless an investor has a clear idea of what the expected rate of return for an investment will be. For instance, it may be very difficult to get an idea of an expected return for a particularly volatile stock. As such, investors may want to proceed with caution when using it to calculate investment doubling times.

Application in Stock Market Investments

As mentioned, stock market investments can be difficult to predict. But some are more predictable than others. For example, investors can probably use the historic rate of return for the S&P 500 to try and get a sense of an expected return for the market at large – which can help when applying the Rule of 72 to index funds or other broad investments.

For example, if a 401(k) plan includes investments that offer a 6% return, the investment will double in 12 years. Again, that’s an estimate, but it gives investors a ballpark figure to work with.

Use During Periods of Inflation

Money loses value during bouts of inflation, which means that the Rule of 72 can be used to determine how long it’ll take a dollar’s value to fall by half – the opposite of doubling in value.

Accuracy and Limitations of the Rule of 72

The Rule of 72 has its place in the investing lexicon, but there are some things about its accuracy and overall limitations to take into consideration.

Is the Rule of 72 Accurate?

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind about the Rule of 72’s accuracy is that it’s a derivation of a larger, more complex operation, and therefore, is something of an estimate. It’s not perfectly accurate, but will get you more of a “ballpark” figure that can help you make investing decisions.

Situations Where the Rule is Most Accurate

The Rule of 72 is only an approximation and depending on what you’re trying to understand there are a few variations of the rule that can make the approximation more accurate.

The rule of 72 is most accurate at 8%, and beyond that at a range between 6% and 10%. You can, however, adjust the rule to make it more accurate outside the 6% to 10% window.

The general rule to make the calculation more accurate is to adjust the rule by one for every three points the interest rate differs from 8% in either direction. So, for an interest rate of 11%, individuals should adjust from 72 to 73. In the other direction, if the interest rate is 5%, individuals should adjust 72 to 71.

Comparisons and Variations on the Rule

There are a few alternatives or variations of the Rule of 72, too, such as the Rule of 73, Rule of 69.3, and Rule of 69.

Rule of 72 vs. Rule of 73

The basic difference between the Rule of 72 and the Rule of 73 is that it’s used to estimate the time it takes for an investment’s value to double if the rate of return is above 10%. The Rule of 73 is only a slight tweak to the rule of 72, using different figures in the calculation.

Rules of 72, 69.3, and 69

Similarly to the Rule of 73, some people prefer to use the Rule of 69.3, especially when interest compounds daily, to get a more accurate result. That number is derived from the complete equation ln(2) / ln(1 + r / 100). When plugged into a calculator by itself, ln(2) results in a number that’s approximately 0.693147.

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.

FAQ

What are flaws of the Rule of 72>

There are a few key drawbacks to using the Rule of 72, including the fact that it’s mostly accurate only for a certain subset of investments, it’s only an estimation, and that unforeseen factors can cause the rate of return for an investment to change, rendering it useless.

Does the Rule of 72 apply to debt?

Yes, the Rule of 72 can apply to debt, and it can be used to calculate an estimate of how long it would take a debt balance to double if it’s not paid down or off.

Who created the Rule of 72?

Albert Einstein often gets credit, but Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli most likely invented, or introduced the Rule of 72 to the popular world in the late 1400s.



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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What Is the Coupon Rate of a Bond?

Understanding the Coupon Rate of a Bond

A bond’s coupon rate represents the annual interest rate paid by the issuer, as determined by current market interest rates and based on the bond’s face value. Bond issuers typically pay coupon rates on a semiannual basis.

The coupon rate of a bond can tell an investor how much interest they can expect to collect on a yearly basis. The bond coupon rate is not the same as the bond yield, which investors who buy bonds on the secondary market use to estimate the total rate of return at maturity.

Investment-quality bonds can help with diversification in a portfolio while providing a consistent stream of interest income. Understanding the coupon rate and what it means is important when choosing bonds for your portfolio.

What Is the Coupon Rate?

Bonds represent a debt where the bond issuer borrows money from investors and agrees to pay interest at regular intervals in exchange for the use of their capital. Both governments and non-government entities, like corporations, may issue bonds to raise capital to fund various endeavors.

The coupon rate of a bond is usually a fixed interest rate, typically paid out twice per year. That said, there are some variable-rate bonds, as well as zero-coupon bonds (more on those below). Investors often use the term “coupon rate” when discussing fixed-income securities, including bonds and notes.

Recommended: How Does the Bond Market Work

The Role of Coupon Rates in Bond Investments

Investors can buy individual bonds, bond funds, or bond options, which are derivatives similar to stock options.

The coupon interest rate tells you what percentage of the bond’s face value, or par value, you’ll receive yearly. The rate won’t change during the life of the bond, which is why some bonds are worth more than others on the secondary market.

Coupon rates are typically lower for investment-grade bonds and higher for junk bonds, due to their higher risk.

Example of a Bond’s Coupon Rate

Assume you purchase a bond with a face value of $1,000. The bond has a coupon rate of 4%. This means that for each year you hold the bond until maturity, you’d receive $40, regardless of what you paid for the bond.

If you buy a bond on the secondary market, the story changes somewhat. That’s because bonds trade either at a premium to the par value (higher than the face value), or at a discount to par (lower than the face value). Because the coupon rate of the bond stays the same until maturity, it may represent a higher or lower percentage of the par value — this is called the yield.

History of the Term Coupon

Bond holders used to get literal coupons as a way of collecting their interest payments. This is no longer the case, as interest is paid on a set schedule to the investor directly.


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Calculating the Coupon Rate

The bond coupon rate formula is fairly simple:

Bond coupon rate = Total annual coupon payment/Face or par value of the bond x 100

To apply the coupon rate formula you’d need to know the face or par value of the bond and the annual interest or coupon payment. To find this payment, you’d multiply the amount of interest paid by the number of periodic payments made for the year. You’d then divide that by the par value and divide the result by 100.

Recommended: How to Buy Bonds: A Guide for Beginners

Step-by-Step Calculation of the Coupon Rate

Say you have a bond with a face value of $1,000, which pays $25 in interest to you twice per year.

•   To find the annual coupon payment you’d multiply $25 by two to get $50.

•   You’d then divide the $50 annual coupon payment by the $1,000 par value of the bond. 50 / 1000 = 0.05

•   Then multiply the result by 100 (0.05 x 100) to find that your bond has a coupon rate of 5%.

The Impact of Market Interest Rates on Coupon Rates

How is the coupon rate determined? This is where current market interest rates come into play.

How Interest Rate Fluctuations Affect Bonds

Interest rates can influence coupon rates. An interest rate is the rate a lender charges a borrower. Individual lenders determine interest rates, often based on movements in an underlying benchmark rate. When discussing bond coupon rates and interest rates, it’s typically in the context of changes to the federal funds rate. This is the rate at which commercial banks lend to one another overnight.

Movements in the federal funds rate directly influence other types of interest rates, including coupon rates and bond prices on the secondary market.

When interest rates rise, based on changes to the federal funds rate, that can cause bond prices to fall. When interest rates decline, bond prices typically rise. When bond prices change that doesn’t impact the coupon rate, which stays the same. But a bond’s price is an important consideration for investors who trade on the secondary market because it impacts the yield to maturity.

Strategies for Investors in a Changing Rate Environment

Bond prices can move up or down based on the coupon rate, relative to movements in interest rates.

When interest rates are higher than the bond’s coupon rate, that bond’s price may fall in order to offset a less attractive yield. If interest rates drop below the bond’s coupon rate, the bond’s price may rise if it becomes a more attractive investment opportunity.

When comparing coupon rates and bond prices, it’s important to understand the relationship between the bond’s face value and what it trades for on the secondary market. If a bond is trading at a price above its face value, that means it’s trading at a premium to par. Conversely, if a bond is trading at a price below its face value, that means it’s trading at a discount to par.

An investor who purchases a bond with the intent to hold it until it reaches maturity does not need to worry about bond price movements. Their end goal is to collect the annual interest payments and recover their principal on the assigned maturity date, making it a relatively safe investment as long as the issuer fulfills their obligation.

Investors looking to buy bonds and resell them before they mature, however, may pay attention to which way bond prices are moving relative to the coupon rate to determine whether selling would yield a profit or loss.

Understanding Coupon Rate vs. Yield

Coupon rate tells investors how much interest a bond will pay yearly until maturity. But there are other metrics for evaluating bonds, including yield to maturity and interest rates. Understanding the differences in what they measure matters when determining whether bond investments are a good fit and what rate of return to expect.

Coupon Rate vs. Yield to Maturity

A bond’s yield to maturity or current yield reflects the interest rate earned by an investor who purchases a bond at market price and holds on to it until it reaches maturity. A bond’s maturity date represents the date at which the bond issuer agrees to repay the investor’s principal investment. Longer maturity dates may present greater risk, as they leave more room for the bond issuer to run into complications that could make it difficult to repay the principal.

When evaluating yield to maturity of a bond, you’re looking at the discount rate at which the sum of all future cash flows is equal to the price of the bond. Yield to maturity can be quoted as an annual rate that’s different from the bond coupon rate. In figuring yield to maturity, there’s an assumption that the bond issuer will make coupon and principal payments to investors on time.

The coupon rate is the annual interest earned while yield to maturity reflects the total rate of return produced by the bond when all interest and principal payments are made.

Coupon Rate vs Interest Rate

While coupon rate and interest rate seem similar, they are distinct. The coupon rate is set by the issuer of the bond, and the amount paid to the bondholder is tied to the face value.

But the prevailing interest rate set by the government is what determines the coupon rate. If the central bank, i.e. the Federal Reserve, sets the interest rate at 6%, that will influence what lenders are willing to accept in the form of the coupon rate.

Also, the price of a bond on the secondary market hinges on the coupon rate. A higher-coupon bond is more desirable than a lower-coupon bond, so its price will be higher.


💡 Quick Tip: It’s smart to invest in a range of assets so that you’re not overly reliant on any one company or market to do well. For example, by investing in different sectors you can add diversification to your portfolio, which may help mitigate some risk factors over time.

Variable-Rate and Zero-Coupon Bonds

Not all coupon rates are fixed. Investors can also consider whether buying variable-rate bonds or zero-coupon bonds might make sense.

Fixed vs. Variable Coupon Rates and Investment Impact

Although bonds typically offer fixed-income payments, some bonds do offer coupon rates that adjust periodically. For that reason these bonds are sometimes called floating-rate or adjustable-rate bonds.

In these cases, the coupon rate adjusts according to a formula that’s linked to an interest rate index such as the SOFR (Secured Overnight Financing Rate), the new benchmark in the U.S. that has largely replaced the LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate).

Although these are income-producing bonds, and there is always the possibility that they could offer a higher yield under the right conditions, they are not technically fixed-income instruments, which is something for investors to bear in mind. In addition they come with the risk of default.

Zero-Coupon Bonds Explained

Some bonds, called zero-coupon bonds, don’t pay interest at all during the life of the bond. The upside of choosing zero bonds is that by forgoing annual interest payments, it’s possible to purchase the bonds at a deep discount to par value. This means that when the bond matures, the issuer pays the investor more than the purchase price.

Zero-coupon bonds typically have longer maturity dates, which may make them suitable when investing for long-term goals. This type of bond may experience more price fluctuations compared to other types of bonds sold on the secondary market. Investors may still have to pay taxes on the imputed interest generated by the bond, though it’s possible to avoid that by investing in zero-coupon municipal bonds or other tax-exempt zero-coupon bond options.

The Takeaway

Investing in bonds can help you create a well-rounded portfolio alongside stocks, and other securities, which is why knowing the coupon rate of a bond is important. The coupon rate is the interest rate paid by the issuer, and it’s fixed for the life of the bond — which makes it possible to create a predictable income stream, whether you buy the bond at issuance or on the secondary market.

As you get closer to retirement, bonds can be an important part of your income and risk management strategy, whether you’re investing through an IRA, a 401(k), or a brokerage account.

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.

Photo credit: iStock/Inside Creative House


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.

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

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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What Is a Red Herring in Investing & How Does It Work?

What Is a Red Herring?

A red herring is a preliminary prospectus filed by a company that’s planning an initial public offering, or IPO. While a red herring prospectus includes coverage of the company’s operations, total estimated IPO amount, management and competitive market standing, it doesn’t reveal the share price or number of shares to be issued.

The SEC reviews the red herring prospectus, and all subsequent iterations, to make sure that all information is accurate before allowing the company to transition to the final investment prospectus phase.

A red herring prospectus has both investment and regulatory implications for companies heading toward an IPO, and any investors who may be interested in obtaining IPO stock.

Key Points

•   A red herring in an IPO is a preliminary prospectus filed by a company that provides information on operations, estimated IPO amount, management, and market standing.

•   A red herring is not final, and investors must take into considerations that the filing doesn’t include the share price for the IPO or the number of shares to be issued.

•   The SEC reviews a red herring prospectus to make sure that all information is accurate before allowing the company to transition to the final investment prospectus phase.

•   Red herrings offer investors some insight into the pros and cons potentially associated with trading IPO shares of the company in question.

IPOs, Explained

An initial public offering is the process through which a private company goes public, with shares of the company’s stock available to the investing public. The term “initial public offering” simply refers to a new stock issuance on a public exchange, which allows corporations to raise money through the sale of company stock.

Red Herring Prospectus

When a company transitions from a private company to public stock issuance, they must file a prospectus, a formal document sharing the new company’s structure, the purpose of the issue, underwriting, board of directors, and other relevant details with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

That prospectus, while not final, may help potential investors make investment decisions based on the information included in the prospectus. A prospectus doesn’t just cover stocks — it’s also required for bonds and mutual funds.

While all stocks include some degree of risk, IPO shares are particularly high-risk investments. Despite the media hype around many IPOs, which often focuses on big wins, the history of IPOs shows plenty of losses as well, owing to the volatility of these shares.

The risks associated with IPO stock is a significant reason why investors are typically asked to meet certain requirements in order to trade IPO shares through a brokerage.

💡 Quick Tip: Before opening any investment account, consider what level of risk you are comfortable with. If you’re not sure, start with more conservative investments, and then adjust your portfolio as you learn more.

[ipo_launch]

How a Red Herring Works

Prospectuses are dynamic and change regularly, as new information about a company comes forth. So, an investment prospectus will likely have multiple drafts before a final draft is released after SEC review.

In a red herring document, the prospectus is incomplete and noted as such, with the word “Red Herring” included on the prospectus cover. That disclaimer lets readers know not only that the prospectus is incomplete, but also that the company has filed for an upcoming IPO. The term “red herring” refers to both the initial prospectus and the subsequent drafts.

Additionally, a stock cannot complete its IPO until it fulfills the S-1 registration statement process, which is a primary reason why a red herring prospectus doesn’t include a stock price or the number of shares traded.

The SEC will review a red herring prospectus prior to its release to ensure that all information is accurate and that the document does not include any intentional discrepancies, falsehoods, or misleading information.

Recommended: A Guide to Tech IPOs

Once regulators clear the registration statement, the company can go ahead and transition out of the red herring IPO phase and enter into the final investment prospectus phase. The time between the approval of the registration process and the time that it reaches its “effective date” (which clears the stock for public trading) is 15 days.

In clearing the IPO for stock market trading, the SEC confirms the necessary information is included in the final prospectus, and that the information is accurate and compliant, based on U.S. securities law. Once the company gets through that hurdle they can continue moving through the IPO process.


💡 Quick Tip: Access to IPO shares before they trade on public exchanges has usually been available only to large institutional investors. That’s changing now, and some brokerages offer pre-listing IPO investing to qualified investors.

Red Herring Pros and Cons

Any investor looking to invest in an IPO stock should understand the benefits and investment risks when it comes to red herrings and in investing in IPOs.

Red Herring Advantages

•   Useful overall information on the company. While investors won’t find any information on pricing or share amounts, they can review company history, operational strategies, management team, potential IPO amount, and market performance, among other company particulars.

•   Some financial data points. Red herring IPOs may provide valuable information about how a company plans to use proceeds from an IPO stock offering. Knowing, for example, that a company plans to use stock proceeds to grow the company or to pay down debts gives investors a better indication of company direction, which they can use to make more informed investment decisions.

•   Risk factors. Under a section known as “Risk Factors”, a soon-to-be publicly-traded company lists any potential risk factors that could curb performance and growth. Legal or compliance problems, abundant market competition, and frequent management turnover are just some of the potential risks included in a red herring IPO prospectus – and investors should factor those risks into any potential investment decision.

Red Herring Disadvantages

•   No pricing data. The biggest drawback of red herring IPO prospectus is the fact that the documents don’t provide any guidance on IPO stock pricing or number of shares available. These are obviously critical components of any investment decision, but investors must wait until the registration statement process is fully complete before that data is available.

•   Shifting information. IPO company information can and does change from document version to version. Investors need to be diligent and stay apprised of all information on red herring prospectuses, from version to version, if they’re interested in an IPO stock.

•   Uncertainty. If government regulators cite deficiencies in a red herring prospectus they may half the IPO process until they’re addressed.

Recommended: SPAC IPO vs Traditional IPO: Pros and Cons of Investing in Each

Red Herring Example

A red herring prospectus when filed with the SEC may have the words “Red Herring” stamped on the document as a reminder to prospective investors that the information in the document is subject to change, and that the securities (i.e. shares of stock, or bonds) are not available for sale until the SEC has approved the final prospectus.

The statement typically included in a new company’s prospectus may say:

The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and we are not soliciting offers to buy these securities in any state or other jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

The Takeaway

The red herring prospectus is the first version of a new IPO company S-1 prospectus, and may be the first detailed impression that institutional investors and the investing public gets of an initial public offering.

By providing all the necessary information on a new publicly traded company (minus the opening share price and the number of shares available), a red herring prospectus can introduce investors to a new stock, which can provide much of the information necessary for investors to decide whether they’re interested in the company, and willing to assume the risks involved in trading IPO shares (if eligible).

Whether you’re curious about exploring IPOs, or interested in traditional stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), you can get started by opening an account on the SoFi Invest® brokerage platform. On SoFi Invest, eligible SoFi members have the opportunity to trade IPO shares, and there are no account minimums for those with an Active Investing account. As with any investment, it's wise to consider your overall portfolio goals in order to assess whether IPO investing is right for you, given the risks of volatility and loss.


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

FAQ

How does a red herring document differ from the final prospectus?

The red herring document is usually shorter than the final filing with the SEC. In addition the final document contains the number of shares in the IPO, as well as the IPO price.

Are there any legal or regulatory requirements associated with red herring documents?

Yes. The SEC must validate all claims and data included in the red herring to ensure that it does not include any false information, or anything that might violate existing laws and regulations. Once the red herring passes muster,

Can investors rely on the information provided in a red herring document when making investment decisions?

Investors may use the red herring document to inform their basic understanding of the company that is seeking an IPO, but it may not be enough to guide an actual decision to buy shares.

Are there any risks or limitations associated with red herring documents that investors should be aware of?

Red herring documents are an important part of a new company’s IPO process, and as such they contain key information about the company, but investors need to be aware that the details are not finalized, and the terms may change before the final prospectus is filed.


Photo credit: iStock/Riska

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.

Investing in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) involves substantial risk, including the risk of loss. Further, there are a variety of risk factors to consider when investing in an IPO, including but not limited to, unproven management, significant debt, and lack of operating history. For a comprehensive discussion of these risks please refer to SoFi Securities’ IPO Risk Disclosure Statement. IPOs offered through SoFi Securities are not a recommendation and investors should carefully read the offering prospectus to determine whether an offering is consistent with their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and financial situation.

New offerings generally have high demand and there are a limited number of shares available for distribution to participants. Many customers may not be allocated shares and share allocations may be significantly smaller than the shares requested in the customer’s initial offer (Indication of Interest). For SoFi’s allocation procedures please refer to IPO Allocation Procedures.


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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Target Funds vs Index Funds: Key Differences

Target Funds vs Index Funds: Key Differences

Target-date funds and index funds are two common investment vehicles for individuals investing for retirement. Investors may see one or both of these types of investment as options in their 401(k) or other workplace retirement fund. Target-date funds offer a sort of set-it-and-forget-it approach to investing typically tied to an investor’s timeline, while index funds include a basket of investments corresponding to an underlying index.

Understanding the key differences between target date funds and index funds to help investors understand which is right for their portfolio.

Target-Date Funds vs Index Funds: A Comparison

Target-date funds and index funds are both common ways for investors to save for future goals, especially retirement. Target-date funds offer what can feel like a hands-off approach to saving for retirement. In a way, they’re like a retirement plan inside a single investment vehicle. Investors do not have to choose the funds held by target date funds or reallocate the fund as it nears its target date.

Target-date funds may include index funds. Index funds track specific indices and typically perform in line with the broader market.

Here’s a quick look at the main differences between these two types of funds.

Target Date Funds

Index Funds

•   Reallocated automatically. Portfolios typically become more conservative as a target date approaches.

•   A fund of funds that provides investors with diversification and a single set-it-and-forget-it solution to retirement savings.

•   Passive management translates into lower fees.

•   Designed to track an index, such as the S&P 500, and provide returns similar to the movements of the index.

•   Allows investors more flexibility in choosing the funds in their portfolios.

Target-Date Funds

A target date fund is a type of investment that holds a mix of different mutual funds, usually including stock and bond funds. When choosing a target date fund, investors must decide on a target date, often offered in five-year intervals and included in the name of the fund and corresponding with the year in which they want to retire. For example, someone in their early 30s might choose a target date of 2055 with a goal of retiring around age 65.

You could, in theory, use target date funds to save for any point in the future. However, they’re a popular type of financial security for saving for retirement and often appear on the menu of investments available to employees through their 401(k)s.

As an individual nears their target date, the fund automatically rebalances from high-risk, high-reward investments into low-risk, low-reward investments. For example, the rebalancing might include shifting a greater proportion of its holdings into bonds to help preserve accrued increases in a portfolio’s value.

Pros of Target-Date Funds

There are several reasons investors might choose a target date fund.

First, they essentially provide a ready-made portfolio of diversified stock and bond funds, making it easy to save for retirement. This may appeal to beginner investors or those who don’t want to design their own portfolios or those who find a hand-on approach to researching and choosing investments difficult.

Additionally, target-date funds provide automatic rebalancing. As the market shifts up and down, different investments may move off track from their initial allocations. When that happens, the fund will rebalance itself so that the allocation remains in line with its original allocation plan. The target date fund also automatically shifts its allocation to more conservative investments as the target date approaches.

Recommended: When Can I Retire? This Formula Will Help You Know

Cons of Target-Date Funds

Investors who want more control over their portfolios may not like target-date funds, which don’t allow investors any control over their mix of investments or when and how rebalancing takes place.

Target-date funds build portfolios using a variety of investments. Some may use index mutual funds that come with relatively low fees. Others might use managed mutual funds, which may come with higher fees. It’s important to look closely at target-date fund holdings to understand what types of fees they might charge.

Here are the pros and cons of target date funds at a glance.

Pros

Cons

•   Ready-made portfolio.

•   Diversification through a basket of mutual funds.

•   Automatic rebalancing, including a shift to more conservative assets over time.

•   Lack of control over investments and when portfolio is rebalanced.

•   Potentially higher fees for funds that hold managed mutual funds.



💡 Quick Tip: How do you decide if a certain trading platform or app is right for you? Ideally, the investment platform you choose offers the features that you need for your investment goals or strategy, e.g., an easy-to-use interface, data analysis, educational tools.

Index Funds

An index fund is a type of mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF). It’s built to follow the returns of a market index, of which there are many.

These indexes track a basket of securities meant to represent the market as a whole or certain sectors. For example, the S&P 500 is a market capitalization weighted index that tracks the top 500 U.S. stocks.

An index fund may follow a market index using several strategies. Some index funds may hold all of the securities included in the index. Others may include only a portion of the securities held by an index, and they may have the leeway to include some investments not tracked by the index.

Because index funds are attempting to follow an index rather than beat it, they don’t require as much active management as fully managed funds. As a result, they may charge lower fees, making them a low-cost option for investors.

Index funds are popular choices for retirement savings accounts. They offer diversification through exposure to a wide range of securities, they’re easy to manage, and they offer the potential for steady long-term growth.

Pros of Index Funds

Low fees and full transparency are among the benefits of holding index funds. Investors can review all of the securities held by the fund, which can help them identify and weigh risk. Also, because they track an index, which updates its numbers constantly, it is unlikely fund managers will be blindsided by something they were unable to anticipate.

Index funds also potentially offer better returns than their actively managed counterparts, especially after factoring in fees.

Recommended: Index Funds vs Managed Funds: Key Differences

Cons of Index Funds

Some of the drawbacks to index funds include the fact that they are often fairly inflexible. If they follow an index that requires them to hold a certain mix of stocks, fund managers will hang on to them even if they are performing poorly. In actively managed funds, fund managers can swap out slumping securities in favor of those that are outperforming. In fact, by design, index funds rarely beat the market.

Here’s a look at the pros and cons of index funds at a glance.

Pros

Cons

•   Diversification through a basket of securities that tracks an index.

•   Transparency.

•   Lower fees. Passive management makes it cheaper to operate funds, which results in lower management fees passed on to investors.

•   Steady gains and potentially better returns than actively managed funds.

•   Lack of flexibility. Index fund managers follow stricture mandates about what can and can’t be included in the fund.

•   Index funds do not typically outperform the market.

Index Funds for Retirement

You can use index funds to build a retirement portfolio as well as to save for other goals. If you’re using them for retirement, you may want a mix of index funds covering a range of asset classes that can provide some diversity within your overall portfolio. Unlike a target-date fund, if that allocation strays from your goals, you’ll need to handle the rebalancing on your own.

Recommended: Are Mutual Funds Good for Retirement?

The Takeaway

Index funds and target-date funds are funds used by retail investors for different purposes. Investors choosing between the two will need to consider their personal financial circumstance and needs. Index funds may be an option for investors looking for passive, long-term investments that they can choose based on their own goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. They may also be right for beginners who are looking for simple, low-cost investment options.

Target date funds, on the other hand, may be another option for long-term investors who do not want to have to rethink their portfolio allocations on a regular basis. These investors may not want to or know how to pick funds themselves.

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.

Photo credit: iStock/Ridofranz


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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