Stocks: A stock is a type of security that signifies ownership in a corporation and represents a claim on part of the corporation's assets and earnings.
There are two main types of stock: common and preferred. Common stock usually entitles the owner to vote at shareholders' meetings and to receive dividends. Preferred stock generally does not have voting rights, but has a higher claim on assets and earnings than the common shares. For example, owners of preferred stock receive dividends before common shareholders and have priority in the event that a company goes bankrupt and is liquidated. Also known as "shares" or "equity."
Bonds: A bond is a debt investment in which an investor loans money to an entity (typically corporate or governmental) which borrows the funds for a defined period of time at a variable or fixed interest rate. Bonds are used by companies, municipalities, states and sovereign governments to raise money and finance a variety of projects and activities. Owners of bonds are debtholders, or creditors, of the issuer.
Mutual Funds: Mutual funds are investments that pool your money together with other investors to purchase shares of a collection of stocks, bonds, or other securities, referred to as a portfolio, that might be difficult to recreate on your own. Mutual funds are typically overseen by a portfolio manager.
Exchange Traded Funds (ETF): An ETF, or exchange-traded fund, is a marketable security that tracks an index, a commodity, bonds, or a basket of assets like an index fund. Unlike mutual funds, an ETF trades like a common stock on a stock exchange. ETFs experience price changes throughout the day as they are bought and sold. ETFs typically have higher daily liquidity and lower fees than mutual fund shares, making them an attractive alternative for individual investors. Because it trades like a stock, an ETF does not have its net asset value (NAV) calculated once at the end of every day like a mutual fund does.
Annuities: An annuity is a contractual financial product sold by financial institutions that is designed to accept and grow funds from an individual and then, upon annuitization, pay out a stream of payments to the individual at a later point in time. The period of time when an annuity is being funded and before payouts begin is referred to as the accumulation phase. Once payments commence, the contract is in the annuitization phase.
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Mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETF), and variable annuities are sold by prospectus. An investor should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of a mutual fund, ETF, variable annuity and the variable annuity’s underlying investment options before investing. This and other information is provided in the product and underlying fund prospectuses. Contact your advisor or the investment company to obtain a copy of these prospectuses, which should be read carefully before investing.
Investing involves risks. Stock and bond values fluctuate in price so that the value of an investment can go down depending on market conditions. Stock prices may fluctuate due to stock market volatility and market cycles, as well as circumstances specific to a company. The two main risks related to bond investing are interest rate risk and credit risk. Typically, when interest rates rise, there is a corresponding decline in the market value of bonds.
Annuities are long-term investments designed for retirement purposes. Withdrawals of taxable amounts are subject to income tax and, if taken prior to age 59½, a 10% federal tax penalty may apply. Early withdrawals may be subject to withdrawal charges. Optional riders have limitations and are available for an additional cost through the purchase of a variable annuity contract. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company.