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How Can You Use Options to Protect Your Investment Portfolio?

The stock market has had a long bull run and now is in danger of a major correction. We have written about how to deal with this possibility in our articles about safe investment niches, if you want to buy gold, and how you might switch your investment focus from growth to value. Today, we would like to look at another approach. How can you use options to protect your investment portfolio?

The Use of Options in Investing

Stock options can be useful in getting into an investment, providing a little extra income along the way, and protecting your investment. The tools of options trading are call and put contracts.

Buying Call Options

Call options can provide a cheap entry into a stock position. How do call options work? Our sister site, discusses calls and puts.

A call contract gives the buyer the option to purchase the underlying equity which he will do if the equity price moves in the direction anticipated. A call contract confers an obligation on the seller (writer) of the call option to sell the underlying equity if the buyer executes the contract.

If you the investor expect that a given stock is going to go up in price you may choose to buy a call option on that stock. This option gives you the right to purchase the stock as the contract price, called the strike price, no matter how high the stock price goes. The beauty of the call option is that if the stock price does not go up or even goes down your losses are limited to the price of the options contract. This fact makes call options a valuable tool in a volatile market.

Selling Call Options

If you own a very stable stock it is possible to make extra money by selling call options on that stock. The buyer will believe that the stock price will go up and will pay you a premium to have the right to purchase from you when that happens. If you believe the stock will remain stable and not go up then you can sell call options and make extra money. In the end the option contract will expire, you will still own the stock, and you will make a profit. For more info on this idea, look at the article, how to write a covered call.

Buying Put Options

This gets back to our original question. How can you use options to protect your investment portfolio? Do you think that the bull market has run its course and is in danger of a big correction? Do you also believe that not all stocks will fall and that timing a correction is difficult to do? Then you may wish to protect your gains in one or more stocks by buying puts. A put option gives the buyer the right to sell a stock at the contract or strike price no matter how far the price falls. If the stock does not correct you will have paid a premium for the contract and may consider that to be insurance against potential loss.

What Affects the Current Value of an Investment?

We have written at length about determining intrinsic stock value as a guide to value investing. But, what affects the current value of an investment? How can the current value of an investment vary over time? Along this line of reasoning Bloomberg writes about how stocks today do not seem to reflect the improving economy and earnings.

Neither this year’s impressive corporate earnings results nor the synchronized pickup in global growth nor record levels of stock buybacks by companies has led to impressive gains in stocks.

The performances of the Dow and the S&P suggest the improvement in economic and corporate fundamentals has been accompanied by a de-risking illustrated most vividly by the decline in market price-to-earnings ratios.

The point of the article is that despite better earnings, stocks have leveled off. Regarding what affects the current value of an investment, the author says that positive earnings were already priced into the market, investors are worried about sustainability of profits, and the Federal Reserve backing off its easy money policy is a headwind for rising stock prices.

The Basis of Intrinsic Value

Value investing is based on intrinsic value assessment and repeated re-assessment. The intrinsic value of any investment is based on future earnings. A strong product line, few competitors in its sector, and R&D that produces new and profitable products are all positives for intrinsic value. A failing economy, high interest rates, and social or political unrest are negative factors. The current stock market rally started as a recovery from the depths of a crash and then continued based on strong earnings. But now, as earnings continue, stock prices are leveling off and have even show evidence of a significant correction. If earnings are still strong then it would seem that societal factors, the prospect of higher interest rates, and political issues are at fault.

Value Instead of Growth

If you have decided to switch your investment focus from growth to value, where do you find and how do you calculate value?

Value stocks are often not ones favored by current market sentiment. Investing novices too often look at what has appreciated recently and assume that the same stock or other investment will continue on its upward course. The history of market bubbles and collapses over the decades is clear proof that this approach does not work. If you are a student of the markets and want to both make a profit and sleep soundly at night, switch your investment focus from growth to value before the market teaches you a painful lesson.

The best profits are often gained when you invest early in a company that has invented or learned how to monetize a new technology. Those investments can also turn around and bite you when someone else enters the market niche with a better approach or simply invents a new technology that replaces the old. If you are looking for a safe investment you will look for products that will predictably remain strong in their markets for years and decades to come. For example, people have been drinking Coca Cola, eating Snickers Bars, and cleaning with Clorox for a long, long time. The current value of investments in Coca Cola and similar companies will be predictable and less likely to lead to losses the negative factors hit the markets.

Do You Use a System for Investing?

Investors are always on the lookout for profitable investment opportunities. And a profitable investment tip may make the difference between a dismal investment portfolio and a stellar one. But, profitable investing tips may require some work before you can put them to use. Do you use a system for investing? You should because that is how you can sort out good tips from bad and pick the best opportunities. Years back we wrote about investing tips.

The best investing tips commonly have to do with how to go about the business of investing. Specific investing tips from your broker, your best friend, investment advisors, or news sources should be investigated by both fundamental analysis and technical analysis before they are acted upon. The problem with second hand investing tips is that they are often yesterday’s news. The market has already acted upon them and driven the stock price up. The best of all investing tips usually come from successful investors and are general in nature. Successful investors like to buy at bargain prices. Successful investors commonly sell stocks and get out of the market when it does not make sense.

Stock investors use fundamental analysis and technical analysis to pick stocks to buy and sell. Long term value investors primarily use fundamental analysis to determine intrinsic stock value and let that be their guide. Short term investors use technical analysis of the market to profit from trends, both up and down. Which system do you use for investing? What are the strong and weak points of each approach?

Value Investing

The first system for investing is to assess the long term value of the investment. There are investors who have used the principles of value investing to become very wealthy. This approach requires patience and the ability to keep your money in an investment for many years. Last year we asked how many years are required to make an investment long term to qualify for true buy and hold investing.

Calculating intrinsic stock value takes into account the long term. If a company shows long term promise its intrinsic value may well exceed its market value and it is a stock to buy and hold. Then, to take advantage of the market you need to hold the stock for a decade or more in order to see the long term benefits of buy and hold investing.

If your system is to calculate intrinsic value you will buy and hold stocks with the promise of a healthy income stream for years to come. You can apply this approach to any given stock tip to pick the winners and ignore the losers.

The down side of long term value investing is that if you need your money for an emergency or an expected expense like a child’s college education you may well end up pulling money out of the investment during a down market and lose money.

Technical Analysis and Short Term Investing

The second system of investing is to use statistical analysis to predict and profit from temporary swing in the market. Short term investment and even day trading both allow you to avoid the problem of having to pull money out of a down investment. This is because you mostly hold cash and only buy and sell when the market presents an opportunity.

There are two things a person may be looking for in a short term investment. One is a place to park their money that is safe and pays better than a bank savings account. The other is a way to profit from the ups and downs of the stock market. The first just has to do with checking out interest rates on T Bills, CD’s, and other short term debt instruments. The second is where technical analysis tools such as Candlestick pattern formations can help a person to trade stocks and make a substantially better profit than the bank offers or even what one can gain from long term investing.

In this case when you are presented with an investing tip you will not look at fundamentals. You will look at market price patterns and buy or sell for the short term in search of profits. The down side of this approach is that no one is perfect at market timing. Thus you will miss out on opportunities and also lose money at times by making poor choices. On the other hand, when you choose correctly you may make the same profit in a couple of days that a long investor will need to wait years for!

In either case, the point is to use a system. Modify your system as needed. And always use your system to avoid falling into the twin traps of greed and fear that torpedo so many investors.

Will Selling Starbucks Coffee Help Nestle?

Nestle just paid Starbucks $7.15 Billion for the right to sell Starbucks coffee worldwide. The question is, will selling Starbucks coffee help Nestle? Reuters reports on the global coffee alliance.

The deal on Monday for a business with $2 billion in sales reinforces Nestle’s position as the world’s biggest coffee company tries to fortify its place atop a fast-changing market.

It is a bold stroke by new Nestle Chief Executive Mark Schneider, who has made coffee a strategic priority as he tries to convince uneasy shareholders, including activist Third Point, that he can boost the sprawling group’s performance.

Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood said that Nestle’s third-biggest acquisition would allow the Swiss company to expand the brand through its global distribution network.

Nestle shares rose 1.4 percent by mid-session, having fallen by more than 8 percent so far this year. Starbucks stock was indicated 2.8 percent higher.

Nestle is the largest food company in the world with operations in 186 countries. Its roots go back to the 19th century and sales of condensed milk and infant formulas. Today Nestle has the sort of problems commonly seen in old, well established companies. They do not have a lot of room to grow. As such there is always the risk of activist shareholders looking to break up the company to “create value of stockholders.” Thus Nestle is looking to expand its already huge coffee product line with the Starbucks brand. Starbucks is perhaps the most recognized high end coffee name in the world. Will selling Starbucks coffee help Nestle? The market thinks so, as the stock edged up a percent or so.

Is Nestle a Good Investment?

Last week we wrote about what to look for in value investing.

Investors like Warren Buffett look for companies whose products and business plans are easy to understand. And they look for companies that are reliably going to be making money with those products and business plans 5 and 10 years in the future. Buffett famously explained that he did not know what a given tech product would be worth 5 years hence in a fast evolving tech world. But he did have a pretty good idea what a Snickers bar would be worth! Value investments have two characteristics, intrinsic value and margin of safety.

Nestle certainly seems to be a secure investment and perhaps a good one if the tech darlings take a hit in the near future. In that case investors will flock to companies like Nestle for security and thereby drive up their stock prices. But what do you get out of investing in Nestle? After a ten for one stock split in 2008 the company traded at $43 a share. At the end of 2017 it traded briefly for $85 a share before dipping back into the $70 range. News of the Starbucks deal has lifted the stock by $2 a share. In short the stock price has gone up by about 70% in the last ten years and the company has paid a dividend of around 3%. During this time the S&P 500 has doubled.

The argument can be made that Nestle was not a good investment coming out of the market crash of 2008 and the Great Recession. However, let’s look at how Nestle compared to the S&P 500 going into the 2008 crash. In October of 2007 the S&P 500 was above 1500 and it lost half its value when the market bottomed out in March of 2009. Allowing for the 2008 stock split, Nestle lost a couple of percent of its stock value at most during the crash.

Nestle is a secure stock that is likely to grow slowly over the years and has a huge margin of safety in the event of a market crash.

What to Look for in Value Investing

As the bull market ages and becomes more volatile many investors are starting to hedge their bets. For some this simply means selling and holding on to cash for the time being. For others it has to do with re-balancing their investment portfolios. More and more we hear that it is time to switch over from a focus on growth and move to value investing. This is probably good advice but how do you do that? Today we consider what to look for in value investing.

Value Investing

Years ago we wrote about value investing for long term profits.

There is always a degree of market inefficiency due to lack of information, poor information, or market psychology. And the market eventually discovers the true value of any given stock as fundamental analysis comes to the fore. Investors who study the fundamentals to discover the intrinsic value of a stock and its margin of safety will tend to profit in the long term. But, what are the tools that one must use in value investing for long term profits?

Investors like Warren Buffett look for companies whose products and business plans are easy to understand. And they look for companies that are reliably going to be making money with those products and business plans 5 and 10 years in the future. Buffett famously explained that he did not know what a given tech product would be worth 5 years hence in a fast evolving tech world. But he did have a pretty good idea what a Snickers bar would be worth! Value investments have two characteristics, intrinsic value and margin of safety.

Look for a Margin of Safety in a Value Investment

Finding the margin of safety of a stock is the first thing to look for in value investing.

The most reliable margin of safety of a stock is money in the bank and no debt. Next is ownership of real estate, factories, and more unencumbered by mortgages. Years ago when Sears broke up it was essentially a penny stock until investors realized the value of its real estate holdings! The same has been true of railroads, steel mills, and companies in the oil and gas industry.

Apple is good case in point. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple he had to go hat in hand to Bill Gates to get a loan to keep Apple afloat. When the company made its comeback Jobs was adamant about Apple keeping a huge cash reserve in case of a rainy day. Periodically Apple buys back stock with its cash reserve but it still keeps a substantial amount of money on hand. The first thing to look for in value investing is a margin of safety.

Intrinsic Value in Investing

We often refer to our article about intrinsic stock value.

The dictionary definition of intrinsic stock value is its fundamental value. It is obtained by adding up predicted future income of a stock and subtracting current price. It can also be seen as actual value of an equity versus its book value or market value.

Read the article for the formula for calculating intrinsic value. Determining intrinsic value is being able to predict that people will be paying for Snickers bars in ten years at the same time that they will quit buying one tech product and switch to another.

Why Invest in Tesla When It Keeps Losing Money?

Profitable investing comes from picking investments that have a future. The concept of intrinsic stock value is based on projected future cash flow. As we follow our investments and pick others an important thing to watch is company earnings. Obviously, you want your investments to be showing a profit, even growth stocks and other investments with potential for the future. But what if earnings are simply not that good? A case in point is the electric car maker, Tesla. Why invest in Tesla if it keeps losing money?

Earnings reports are due and The Street says it is do or die for Tesla among others.

Tesla will likely take the spotlight – analysts expect the electric car manufacturer to report a loss of $3.53 per share on sales totaling $3.27 billion.

Short-sellers are making a mistake on Tesla, says TheStreet’s Tesla expert Jonas Elmerraji.

The focus right now is on production problems with Tesla’s model 3. The company needs to show investors that it can produce enough cars to generate more cash flow. And then it needs to show that it can make money once production is going well. After all, why invest in Tesla when it keeps losing money? The point is that those who are in Tesla for the long run believe that the company will fix its production problems and continue to be the rising star in the electric car market as the automotive world shifts away from the internal combustion engine. These folks believe that Tesla has a good intrinsic stock value based on their projections of future earnings.

The dictionary definition of intrinsic stock value is its fundamental value. It is obtained by adding up predicted future income of a stock and subtracting current price. It can also be seen as actual value of an equity versus its book value or market value. The concept of fundamental analysis of equities evolved from this concept. Using fundamental analysis the intrinsic value of a stock is the expected company cash flow discounted to current dollars. It is a discounted cash flow valuation. An inherent weakness in this concept is that too often the medium and long term prospects of a company and its stock price are not clear. So, what is intrinsic stock value of a company if the future is uncertain? The ability to see into the future to see how well a company will manage its assets, products, costs, R&D, and marketing is of utmost importance in calculating intrinsic stock value as a means of deciding whether or not to purchase a stock.

In short, if you are a long term Tesla investor you believe that the company will figure out its production issues, start making money, and be a cash cow into the far distant future. If you are a doubter, as many have been for the last 8 years, you will sell now in the belief that the company will simply keep losing money. This is the crux of using intrinsic value as a guide in investing. You need to accurately predict who will be making money in the future based on current evidence.

Should You Invest in a Bear Market?

The bear market that people have been predicting for years may have actually arrived. Market Watch is writing about a big bear market of several months duration.

The “big bear market” for stocks that market timer Tom McClellan has been expecting appears to have begun, as Tuesday’s broad selloff turned a key technical indicator down from an already negative position to convey a “promise” of lower lows.

McClellan, publisher of the McClellan Market Report, said there could be a pause in the downtrend this week, as his market-timing signals point to a minor top due on Friday. But with his “price oscillator” turning lower following the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s DJIA, +0.41%  425-point drop, and the S&P 500 index’s SPX, +0.33%  1.3% slide on Tuesday, he turned bearish for short- and intermediate-term trading styles. He has been bearish for long-term trading styles since Feb. 28.

“I have been looking for a big downturn in late April.We appear to have gotten that downturn now,” McClellan wrote in a note to clients. He said it is possible that the big down move pauses briefly in honor of the minor top signal due Friday, “but it should be a lasting and painful downtrend, heading down toward a bottom due in late August.”

This prediction is based on technical analysis and is certainly backed by lots of fundamentals. We have written about interest rates going up, too much debt, market volatility, and the risk of a serious trade war. And then the other day a Caterpillar executive said that the company’s earnings for the first quarter are probably going to be the high water mark for the year! And then stocks started to slide even when they had reported good earnings. The point is that the market is going to correct. What should you do?

Should You Invest in a Bear Market?

When the market starts to slide is it time to get out, simply readjust your portfolio, or scout out profitable investments? Two months ago we wrote about how to protect your investments in a bear market.

As a bull market comes to its end there are always investors who want to eke out that last little bit of profit. Because a dying bull market is often volatile those investor will wait for one last upswing before getting out. The problem is that too many investors wait too long and then see their portfolios evaporate as they wait for one last rally.

Years ago we wrote about investing in beer. When times are good people drink beer to celebrate and relax and when times are bad people drink beer to drown their sorrows. Companies that brew and distribute beer are like companies that make and sell soap, household cleaners and other basic household necessities. When a recession hits consumer goods companies continue to make money. And their stock prices often go up because investors move their money out of stocks that are hurt by a recession and into stocks that remain stable. Another way to protect your investments in a bear market is to find crash-proof and recession-proof stocks.

And the other alternative is to look for stocks that still have strong intrinsic value. And the most profitable investments are those that stand the test of time.

The general consensus is that you need to stay in an investment at least five years and probably ten to see the benefits of long term investing. The S&P 500 peaked at 1509 in November of 2007 and bottomed out at 683 in March of 2009. Ideally you would have purchased shares in an ETF that tracks the S&P 500 and done so in March of 2009. But a long term investor would have purchased in 2007 as well. Today the S&P 500 is at 2600 after peaking above 2800 in January of this year. Successful market timing can help but it is difficult to carry off time and time again. The point is that if you had bought the S&P 500 at its high point before the crash and held on you would be up around 80% today. If you had added to your portfolio as the market went down in 2007 and 2008 you would have done even better.

So, yes, you should invest in a bear market. Look for stocks with long term value and buy when their prices are depressed along with the general market. And then enjoy your profits over the years.

What Can You Do to Avoid Confusion about Investments?

The bull market is getting old. Should you sell? Some of the tech stocks still have good earnings. That implies a good intrinsic stock value. Should you buy when stock prices fall? Interest rates are edging up. Is that bad for stocks? What can you do to avoid confusion about investments? We wrote about the risk of higher interest rates three years ago.

The cost of doing business (borrowing) is about to go up for companies that can least afford it. The expectation that stocks with speculative credit ratings will outperform blue chips seems to be going away as blue chips are being bid up in expectation of higher interest rates. The consensus of investors to flee to quality and dump junk is a measure of the risk of higher interest rates.

Watch the rate of inflation if you want to know how fast and how high interest rates will be raised. The Fed is charged with maintaining price stability and optimal employment. Interest rates that are too high and go up too fast may stifle inflation but will also put people out of work. Not raising rates will allow inflation to creep into the picture, especially as the world economy heals and energy prices go up. Meanwhile the risk of higher interest rates is that weak stocks will suffer, the bonds in your portfolio will devalue as rates go up and mortgage interest rates on your new home will rise as well.

We wrote this article three years ago and interest rates have edges up. Meanwhile blue chip tech stocks have continued to rise based on strong earnings and a flight to quality. And today the market is up one day and down the next. That is the same pattern of volatility we say prior to the 2008 crash. And we looked at volatility as it relates to investments in a recent article.

There were people who were were wiped out in the 2008 market crash. And there were those who made fortunes in the market meltdown by shorting various investments. And there were people who simply kept their investments and are just fine today as we noted in recent article about profitable investments. Obviously, the most profitable approach is to buy when prices are low and sell when they are high but market timing can be chancy. Warren Buffett had something to say about volatility versus risk in a newsletter a couple of years ago. Business Insider quotes Buffett in saying that volatility is not the same thing as risk.

What Can You Do to Avoid Confusion about Investments?

The point is this. Investors who routinely research stocks and other investments before buying do better than those who simply follow market trends and hope for more of the same. Intrinsic value is a good guide to investment success no matter how volatile things are. And if you invest with a sufficient time horizon for truly long term investments you tend to even out the ups and downs of the market and find reasonable profits over the long term.

Soft Underbelly of Bull Market Is Too Much Debt

According to Warren Buffett the first rule of successful investing in not to lose money and the second rule is not to forget the first rule. With this sage advice in mind, what are the risks in today’s aging stock rally, both in the USA and abroad? Our considered opinion is that the soft underbelly of the bull market is too much debt. This debt excess includes that held by consumers, governments, and businesses.

Business Debt and Margin of Safety

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple he reinvigorated the company and generated lots of profits. He also built up a huge stash of cash so that the company would have a margin of safety in case of a business downturn.

Successful long term investors look for stocks that are likely to provide strong cash flow, return on investment, and a degree of security over the years. The security in owning a good stock comes from its margin of safety. The official definition of margin of safety is that it is the difference between the market price of a stock and its intrinsic value. However, there is more to the intrinsic value of a stock than a quick look at expected financial over the years. Finding the margin of safety of a stock may be easy and finding the margin of safety of a stock may take a little research and thought.

Money in the bank instead of excessive debt is a comfortable margin of safety. Netflix has been in the news again as its stock price keeps going up but Netflix is not making a profit even though they are increasing their market throughout the world. And Netflix repeatedly takes on debt to fund movie production and other costs. is another case in point as they borrowed in order to take over Whole Foods. The stock price is up on growth but their ratio of debt to cash on hand is going up. On the other hand Apple ended 2017 with a quarter of trillion dollars in cash reserves and Microsoft has about $125 billion in reserve. When considering how to prepare for a market correction remember that the soft underbelly of the bull market is too much debt and look for a margin of safety when you invest.


China has experienced economic growth over the last decades similar to what the USA saw from the years after the Civil War and again in the mid-20th century. They have been able to take on both business and consumer debt because the economy has continued to grow. But, all good things come to an end. China’s debt is not worrying investors both at home and abroad. The soft underbelly of Chinese debt is a risk to Chinese businesses and consumers and to a world full of commodity exporters who rely on China to buy their raw materials.

The Economic Times provides an example of a Chinese port with few ships that is not making money and a debt burden.

Each year roughly 60,000 ships vital to the global economy sail through the Indian Ocean past a Chinese-operated port on the southern tip of Sri Lanka. Almost none of them stop to unload cargo.

The eight-year-old Hambantota port – with almost no container traffic and trampled fences that elephants traverse with ease – has become a prime example of what can go wrong for countries involved in President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” trade and infrastructure initiative.

Total Chinese debt has gone from 140% of GDP in 2007 to 256% today. This sort of debt increase invariably ends up causing severe economic damage.

US Tax Cut

The USA has cut taxes, which is probably going to help the economy in the short term, unless a trade war torpedoes the economy. But over the long haul this is another nail in the debt coffin.

Where Should You Invest Your Tax Refund?

Are you getting money back on your taxes this year? If so, are you taking a trip, going on a shopping spree, or hopefully putting something away for retirement or a rainy day? If you are taking the latter course where should you invest your tax refund? Investing excess cash such as a tax refund should be routine for every investor. This money will stay put until you are no longer working or when you really need it. Here is where you need to apply the principles of value investing. The skill of long term investing is more in the process than in picking today’s bright shiny stock tip. Intrinsic value is the valuation that successful long term investors use to pick profitable long term investments. We wrote about this concept as it applies to stocks.

Benjamin Graham presented investors with a formula for calculating intrinsic stock value in 1962 and modified it in 1974. The 1974 version considers the following:

  • Earnings per share, EPS, for the preceding twelve months
  • A constant of 8.5 representing an expected price to earnings ratio, P/E ratio, for a company that is not growing
  • An estimate of long term growth, five years = g
  • A constant of 4.4 which was the average yield of high grade corporate bonds in the early 1960 decade
  • The current yield of AAA corporate bonds = Y
  • Where V = intrinsic value

The formula is as follows:

V = (EPS x (8.5 + 2g) x 4.4)/Y

The way the investors were encouraged to use intrinsic value was to derive what is referred to as a Relative Graham Value, RGV. This is to divide the calculated intrinsic value of the stock by its current price. If the result, the RGV, is less than one the stock is overvalued and a bad investment and if the ratio is above one it is undervalued and may be a good investment.

Where Should You Invest Your Tax Refund

If You Want to Reduce Your Tax Burden

When you invest your tax refund you want to put it in something that will appreciate over the years. This is accomplished by picking an investment that is likely to provide a healthy return on investment year after year. And it is accomplished by reducing the overhead of investing. This means minimizing fees and commissions and minimizing taxes as well. In this regard consider an IRA or 401K. Years ago we looked a traditional IRA versus a Roth IRA.

In general one can invest IRA assets in common stocks, bonds, mutual funds, bank certificates of deposit, or real estate. All such investments through a Roth IRA versus a traditional IRA must meet the specific requirements of the Internal Revenue Service. As a rule there are more types of investments that can be made in a Roth IRA than in other types of tax advantaged retirement plans such as pensions, profit sharing accounts, 401Ks, etc. What is available may depend on the trustee of the account. For example, a bank may only offer CDs. A stock broker may only offer stocks. And, mutual funds will obviously only offer mutual funds.

This is where you want to choose a profitable investment, invest one time, and leave it alone to appreciate over the years, tax free, and then pay your taxes after retirement when you are in a lower tax bracket.

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