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May 31, 2023

A Glossary of Investment Terms

ROI, ETFs, IPOs…If you're new to investing, figuring out where to start can feel like trying to read a foreign language. Don't let that stop you! We're here to breakdown the jargon. From stocks and equity, to price-to-earnings and market volatility, we've compiled a wide range of terms with easy-to-understand definitions so you can dive right in.

Annuities - Annuities offer you a guaranteed, steady stream of money in exchange for a lump sum or periodic payments. It's like having your own personal financial safety net—but it's important to understand the terms and fees associated before investing!

Asset Allocation - Deciding how much of your portfolio should be invested in each asset class. This balance is based on your personal risk tolerance, financial goals, and time horizon. It's like a recipe where you determine the right ingredients and proportions for your financial success.

Debt-to-Equity (D/E) - The D/E ratio is a clever metric that puts a company's total debt side by side with its total shareholder equity. Why does it matter? Well, it tells us about the company's financial health and risk level. A high D/E ratio might mean the company heavily depends on debt financing, which can be risky when the economy takes a dip.

Diversification - A risk management strategy that involves spreading your investments across different asset classes like stocks, bonds, and commodities. Diversifying reduces risk by not putting all your eggs in one basket. It's like having a variety of delicious flavors in your investment mix!

Equity - Refers to ownership in a company. When you own equity, you have a share in the company's assets and can participate in its growth and success. It can be obtained through stocks or other forms of ownership, like equity-based investment vehicles.

ETFs - Exchange-Traded Funds are a popular choice for diversification. They are like investment baskets that hold a mix of assets. ETFs offer broad market exposure, low costs, and easy buying and selling. They can be a handy tool in building a well-diversified investment portfolio.

Hedge Funds - Think of these like exclusive investment clubs where people or organizations w/ a lot of money come together to make riskier & potentially more profitable investments. They pool money from accredited individuals or institutional investors to pursue more complex, aggressive investment strategies, w/ the goal of maximizing profits & minimizing risk—though they're generally considered higher risk.

Index Funds - Convenient, affordable, and diverse! These allow you to invest in the entire stock market or a specific group of stocks, w/o having to pick individual stocks. They track stock market indices, like the S&P 500, and aim to match performance instead of beat it. It's like joining a group that automatically invests your money in a variety of companies w/ low fees & broad diversification.

Investment Portfolio - Your investment portfolio is like a financial masterpiece! It's a collection of your investments, from stocks to bonds and more. Building a diverse portfolio helps spread risk and maximize potential returns, so you can start painting your path to financial success!

Investment Return - This is the profit or loss you earn over a specific period of time when you put your money into stocks, bonds, or real estate. It can be positive (profit 😁) or negative (loss 😞) and is usually expressed as a percentage or monetary value!

Investment Risk - Your investment risk is a bit of a rollercoaster ride. It measures the possibility of losing money, or not earning what you expect, from your investment. The higher your risk, the more unpredictable the ride! But if you buckle up, take a few cautious steps, and remember to diversify—you can learn to better manage those twists and turns, navigate the investment landscape, and discover new opportunities!

IPOs - Initial Public Offerings are when a private company goes public by offering its shares to the public for the first time. IPOs can present investment opportunities, but it's essential to research the company and evaluate its prospects before investing.

Market Cycles - These are the recurring patterns of ups and downs that financial markets experience over time. These are natural fluctuations, driven by things like economic conditions, investor sentiment, and market dynamics. There are typically 4 phases: Accumulation, Uptrend/Mark-up, Distribution, and Downtrend.

Market Index - The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and NASDAQ Composite are all market indexes! These are statistical measures that represent how a specific group of stocks or other investments are performing in a particular market. Think of it like a scorecard that helps you understand if the overall market or a part of it is going up or down, and how well your investments are doing compared to others.

Market Volatility - This is the frequency (how often) & magnitude (how much) of price movements, up or down. The bigger and more frequent the price swings, the more 'volatile' the market is .Volatility is a rollercoaster, but it can also be an opportunity in disguise.

Mutual Funds - These are like investment clubs for everyone! They let you join forces with other people to invest in a bunch of different things, like stocks, bonds, and other securities. They're more conservative, aiming for steady returns. Easy to buy and sell, and regulated to protect investors.

Price-to-Earnings (P/E) - The P/E ratio is a nifty way to figure out if a company's stock price matches up with its earnings per share (EPS). Investors use it to see how a stock stacks up against others in the same biz. A high P/E ratio might mean the market expects some serious growth, while a low P/E ratio could be a sign of an undervalued gem.

Price-to-Sales (P/S) - P/S ratio compares a company's stock price to its revenue per share. It's handy for figuring out if a company's stock is valued right compared to others in its field. The P/S ratio is particularly useful for growth-oriented companies that are still hustling and haven't hit big earnings just yet.

Private Equity (PE) - PE is all about investing in established companies that need a boost. Private equity investors swoop in to provide capital, guidance, and support, helping these companies reach their full potential. They usually acquire a controlling interest, becoming true partners with the company's management team to maximize value.

Risk Budgeting - It's like creating a friendly budget for risks – allocating how much you're willing to sail into uncertain waters. By setting limits and diversifying wisely, you can navigate choppy market waves while keeping your financial goals afloat.

Risk Management - Think of it like a friendly guardian angel for your hard-earned money. 🛡️💸 By understanding and managing risks, you can safeguard your investments while still aiming for growth. It's all about finding the right balance, staying informed, and making wise decisions.

Risk-Return Tradeoff - This is the balancing act you play when it comes to any of your investments! Generally, the higher the potential return you seek, the greater the risk you'll have to take. So it's best to find your sweet spot, weigh your options & make investment choices that align with your comfort level & financial goals!

Risk Tolerance - Your risk tolerance is like your unique flavor preference in the investing recipe! Just like some people love spicy food while others prefer a milder taste, we all have different risk tolerances. So, take a moment to assess yours, and remember, investing is all about finding YOUR sweet spot!

ROI - Return On Investment is a measure of how much money you make (or lose) on an investment compared to what you put in. It's like a magic number that tells you if your investment is doing great or needs a little TLC. If the ROI is positive, you're making bank! If it's negative, uh-oh, time to reevaluate.

Stocks - Represent ownership shares in a company. By purchasing stocks, you become a shareholder and have a claim on the company's assets and profits. Stock prices can fluctuate based on market conditions, company performance, and investor sentiment.

Stock Market - The stock market is where investors (and you!) can buy and sell ownership in companies. When companies do well, the value of their ownership (stocks) goes up, and when they do poorly, it goes down. People invest in the stock market hoping to make a profit from these price changes.

Venture Capital (VC) - VC investing is all about funding startups and early-stage, high-growth companies with potential for big returns. It's like giving a helping hand to those brilliant ideas that are just getting off the ground.

Building your financial literacy is an ongoing journey. Understanding the language is just one tool in your belt—so stay curious, keep learning, and embrace the exciting possibilities that investing offers!

At Stride, we're all about unlocking access to opportunities—and that includes financial literacy. In case you missed it, we spent this month on Twitter #DemystifyingInvesting. Follow us for more bite-size finance lessons like these!