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DirectNEWS is a quarterly publication designed especially for retirement plan participants. The newsletters contain articles on various retirement and investment topics to help educate and assist participants in managing their retirement accounts.
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DirectNEWS - Fall 2020
 

Evaluating Mutual Funds
Sometimes, trying to select a grocery product from the many offerings at the store can seem bewildering. But you can focus your decisionmaking and make an informed choice by weighing the advantages and disadvantages of your options. This same approach can also apply to selecting mutual funds for your investment portfolio.

Finding a Good Fit

The mutual funds you choose for your portfolio should be well matched with your investing goals, risk tolerance, and investment time frame. If you have short-term goals or a low risk tolerance, you may want to consider a fund with a conservative investment strategy...

Active or Passive
Whether a fund is actively or passively managed is another factor to consider. Actively managed funds attempt to outperform the market by relying on the fund manager's skill in buying and selling securities at favorable prices...


Keep Track of Changes
A fund's strategy may change when a new manager is appointed. As a result, the fund may no longer be aligned with your original reasons for purchasing it. It's also possible your own goals, risk tolerance, and time frame have changed...



What’s Your Investing Style?
Are you style conscious when it comes to fashion? What about when it comes to investing? Stock fund and portfolio managers follow different investing styles. Understanding them may help you make better investment choices...


Off the Rack vs. Custom
One investment theory suggests that it's difficult to beat market performance, so investors might as well "buy the market." Known as passive investing, fund managers essentially aim to copy the performance of a market index (such as the S&P 500)...

Some Like Growth
Managers who follow a growth style investing strategy favor the stocks of established companies that typically deliver above-average growth in earnings and profits. These companies generally reinvest their earnings, a sign that they intend to keep growing...

Some Prefer Value
Managers who follow a value style investing strategy look for undervalued stocks that the managers feel may be poised for a comeback. Value stock prices may be low for a number of reasons: a company's earnings may have fallen short of estimates, the stock may be temporarily out of favor, or the entire industry or sector may be troubled...




 

DirectNEWS - Summer 2020
 

Rookie Investment Errors Can Cost You Dearly
Every investor, even experienced ones, makes mistakes. The "can't lose" investment that may seem like a great opportunity all too often can lose -- and lose big...

Over-Concentrating Assets in One Stock or Fund*

Investors who are overly confident in their ability to pick winners may invest a large portion of their assets in one stock or stock fund, or in only a handful of stocks/stock funds. This concentrated "swing for the fences" approach tempts investors with the prospects of big potential gains....

Trying to Time the Market
It appears to make sense: buy or stay fully invested in stocks during periods when the stock market is moving upward and jump into cash just before the market's rise ends. Then, move out of cash and back into stocks when stocks renew their climb. However, it's not that simple, and taking this approach is a classic rookie error...


Buying the Past
Buying last year's winners in the hope that they can repeat their winning performance is not always the best move. Interest rates, consumer confidence levels, political issues, and the overall health of the economy impact how well or how poorly stocks and bonds perform in a given year...



Three Things You May Not Know About Your Retirement Plan
Many plan participants may not fully understand all the advantages their employer-provided retirement plans provide. Here are three aspects of your retirement plan that may surprise you...


#1
By law, the assets of a retirement plan are held in a trust (or invested in an insurance contract), separate and apart from the assets of the employer sponsoring the plan. Plan assets must be used solely to benefit plan participants and beneficiaries...

#2
Your retirement plan assets are portable so that if you change jobs, you won't have to start over. You may have several options for your retirement savings, such as keeping the money in your current plan, moving your savings to another employer's retirement plan or an individual retirement account, or cashing out your plan assets...

#3
You can change beneficiaries. If there's a major change in your life, you have the flexibility to add or subtract an individual or individuals from the list of beneficiaries who would receive the assets in your retirement account upon your death...




 

DirectNEWS - Spring 2020
 

No Shortage of Investment Risks
You can't escape it -- every investment has risk. But there are many types of risk, and each type affects investments in a different way. While you'll generally have to accept some risk to reach your goals, understanding and evaluating the various kinds can help you make better investment decisions...

Market Risk

Market risk is the possibility that your investments will lose value because of factors that affect the broad economy and the securities markets. It is often the risk investors think of first. Long-term investors can generally ride out periods of stock market volatility since, historically, the market has always recovered its losses over time...

Interest Rate Risk
Changes in interest rates affect bond prices. When interest rates rise, prices of existing bonds fall because older bonds are paying less interest than newly issued bonds. On the other hand, when interest rates fall, bond prices and values typically increase...


Default Risk
If a bond issuer doesn't have money to make principal payments to bondholders, you could lose your entire investment. Default risk is generally more of a concern to investors who buy lower-rated bonds...



Goals for Now, Goals for Later
Investing would be a lot easier if you had only one thing to save for. But from your first house to your retirement, you'll have different financial goals at different life stages. Your financial plan should help you meet your objectives at each stage of your life...


In the Near Term
When you're starting out, you may be more focused on saving for things you want in the near future -- a new car or a house, for example. Your paycheck may not stretch very far, but having a spending plan can help...

In the Middle
You may have multiple goals that you're saving for down the road: maybe a larger house and your kids' college expenses. But don't forget about retirement. You'll likely need more savings for retirement than for any other goal you have...


In the Future
Your most important long-term goal is retirement. If you save and invest throughout your working years, you may be able to accumulate significant assets. Shifting a portion of your portfolio into lower risk investments as you near retirement may help you preserve your gains.


 

DirectNEWS - Winter 2020
 

Updated USICG Mobile App
Managing your retirement account on your mobile device has never been easier with the updated USICG Mobile App. Below is some information on recent enhancements to the App as well as an overview of its features...

Current Users of the App

Due to recent technology enhancements in the latest version of the App, if you have a mobile device that uses the Android operating system, you must delete the current version of the App from your device and re-install the App from Google Play as described below. If you have an Apple device, you should be able to update the App when prompted from the App store, but you can re-install if necessary...

Download the App
If you do not currently have the App, or need to re-install, it is available at no charge in the App Store and Google Play. Simply search for “USICG” and download it to your mobile device...



Steps to Financial Wellness
People who are serious about improving their physical health know that it requires effort and a series of small steps taken over time. It's much the same with improving your financial health. Here are some steps that can take you closer to achieving financial wellness...


Spend Less Than You Earn
You'll never get ahead financially if you spend every dollar you earn. A budget will help you track where your money is going and where you might be able to cut back on spending. Dining out multiple times a week or paying for apps you rarely use are examples of discretionary spending that could be cut...

Make Sure You're Covered
Having enough life and disability insurance coverage in place is a key element in achieving financial wellness. A disability income insurance policy can help you pay household bills and meet other financial obligations if you become disabled and can't work. Life insurance can help protect your loved ones from financial hardship if you die prematurely...

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct News - 2019
Direct News - 2018
Direct News - 2017
Direct News - 2016
 
 
     
     
     
         
 
 
     
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