Category Archives: Economy

Smart Investing- It’s for Everyone!

Smart investing requires discipline and due diligence. Understanding the current economic conditions, technology trends gives you an edge and could catapult you into prosperity. Setting aside money, investing in the best stocks, ETFs, and funds that match your goals/objectives, and leaving it put for the long run; that’s smart investing.

If you love researching stocks and making fast trades in search of short-term profits, fine. It’s fun. I just don’t recommend doing it with more than 10 percent of your money.

The key to smart investing is to have an objective and to contribute regularly. It doesn’t matter how much you invest as long as you do. Generally, you want to start early to allow the money to compound over time.
Investing involves risks since it’s based on speculations and assumptions. But if you have a plan, common sense and time, it could make you financially independent. Make sure you assess your portfolio annually. Conduct the necessary adjustments to align it with current market conditions and trends.
A smart investor is a well informed investor. He is proactively involved in re-balancing his portfolio according to his financial goals and investment objectives.

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May the new year bring you happiness and prosperity. Happy investing!!

Buckle-up…More Stock market volatility ahead

The stock market volatility has been very erratic this year. What used to be an investment arena has now turned into a global Casino.  If you have been avoiding checking the performance of your portfolio, let me put you at ease: you are not alone!Stock Market Volatility
You might be asking yourself why are we seeing such volatility?? There are numerous reasons and factors for those crazy swings. Let me start by saying that the average investor is not causing this ruckus; the average investor is caught in the cross fire between the huge fund managers and high frequency traders, i. e. price manipulators. In other words, the shear volume of trades are being generate by HFTs- the exact figure is difficult to ascertain, but several financial analysts have said that some 70% of American stock trades are high frequency trading.

The other contributing factors are geopolitical in nature. Since the globalization era, things affecting one nation now have direct links across global economies. The complex interaction of trade, capital, information, and technology is leading to a new global convergence, for better and for worse- Countries are more connected than ever.Geopolitical

 IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde says: “… while the IMF is making progress at mapping global financial risks and the links between the financial sector and the real economy, the biggest challenge is persuading national policymakers to take a global perspective.”
How is the World Connected into a Global Economy?- this article talks about the evolution and mechanics of world inter-connectivity.  Great read, it paints the picture!
Monetary policies have been putting a lot of pressure on the direction of the economy.  The question is not whether the Feds will raise rates, the question is when? This uncertainty is weighing heavily on investors’ mind. Signs such as inflation, job growth, dollar strength are the leading indicators for that rate hike.  Many see this hike as early as December, others believe it could be in March.
cashSo, how does that affect your portfolio?? It all depends on your investment strategy; short, intermediate or long term. In today’s chaos, I highly suggest you remain long- if you have been hurt by this stock market volatility, don’t panic, stay the course. On the other hand, if you have profits take some off the table, and hold 30-40% in cash. Investing in well known, fundamentally sound companies is the best hedge against the house casino!  If you are uncomfortable hand picking those stocks, I encourage you to look into ETFs. Unlike mutual funds, they provide better liquidity, lower fees, and more diversity.
If you want to learn more about ETFs, Dave Nadig has a well written article- follow this link–> ETFs.
In summary, I highly recommend you analyze your portfolio and make the necessary adjustments to ensure it’s aligned with your long term investment goal and strategy. Also, it’s a good idea to hold a cash position until all this chaos settles down.
Happy investing!


2015 Financial Outlook- bumpy ride ahead?

What to expect in 2015-2015-money-1
The crazy and volatile swings that we endured in 2014 will be
a normal occurrence this year as well. With geopolitical unrest still looming over, frail economic conditions in Europe, madness in the Middle East, and sluggish emerging market growth, expect to see similar swings again. On a positive note, the S&P 500 did have a fabulous run in 2014 – rewarding patient investors with double digit returns – just shy of 12%.

Oil, Oil, Oil….
oil-pricesLet us expand on some facts – Crude oil prices reached all time lows
few months ago, but have now formed some resistance around $48/barrel. What started out as a political propaganda to crush Russia for invading their friendly neighbors and ISIS for the brutal onslaught on their own people, quickly morphed into a game of chicken between Saudi and U.S.
U.S. is now considered the number one oil producer in the world, and that doesn’t bode well for the Saudis. For that reason they are playing the price war to crush the U.S. shale industry and to deplete other OPEC supplies..
Some believe we have reached bottom, others are skeptical and feel we could be in the 30’s. This boom in US shale along with significant slow down in demand have created a great imbalance. Oil rigs are now starting to come offline to offset this influx of refined oil – but not nearly as enough.  The immediate concern to consider is storing the access supplies.

Oil prices will continue to fluctuate, and global uncertainties will dictate the slope and direction of those fluctuations. If you are interested in investing in the oil/refinery industry, the it is wise to take positions in fundamentally sound companies that offer decent yield returns suck as Chevron, Exxon, British Petroleum, Total – not only do they pay healthy dividends, but they are somewhat immune to huge swings in crude prices, better leverage, and can weather the storm if things get dicey. Look in the refinery sector to do complement those positions. CVR Energy Inc., Western Refining Inc. to name a couple.

While everyone likes to speculate, I resort to common sense and known facts.
1- Production levels are unchanged (Saudi refuses to reduce throughput)oil-pipes
2- Global demands are low (thanks to alternative fuel/energy)
3- Supplies are reaching maximum capacity  (we will soon have trouble finding storage)
If those factors are not resolved, expect turbulent times ahead.
This chaos may take some time to unfold – It is a cyclical industry and things will play out eventually.  If you’re a long term investors, there’s no need to worry.

Let us switch our focus to other factors that will play a major role in the 2015 financial outlook.

Monetary Policies
The central bank of the United States is the ‘FED’. FED stands for Federal Reserve System
but this is also referred to as the Federal Reserve for short. Although the FED is an
independent government institution, the American central bank is owned by a number of
large banks and therefore not by the state.
Federal Funds Rate ( the interest rate at which banks and other depository institutionsrate-increase
lend money to each other, usually on an overnight basis) has been at 0.25 for 5 years – sine Dec 2008.
Analysts are anticipating a gradual tightening; a rise in interest rate is expected but no one is sure of the timing. The FEDs have been hinting but they remain dovish at taking action – acting too soon could destabilize this fragile economy.
Paul R. from CNN Money, wrote a lovely article that gives great insights on the effects of rate hikes (full article)

Investing Ideas: Favor the financial sector such as regional banks, consumer discretionary (retails, autos, etc.,), real estate, home building, construction, raw materials, etc,.. Certificate of Deposit (CD) is another form or investment that benefits from rising interest rates. Proceed with caution when investing into rate-sensitive sectors, such as Fixed income, REITs, Utilities.
Investopedia has a nice article regarding this topic – click HERE to read full article

Dollar Index
dollar-euroLet’s talk about the Elephant in the room that no one is addressing: the strength in the US dollar. Due to weak global conditions, troubled European economy, slow growth in the Chinese & Emerging markets. U.S. became a safe haven for investors from all corners of the world. The dollar has been gaining a lot of momentum against other currencies – Europe in particular. They are going through the similar turmoil we faced when our market collapsed in 2009. The European Central Bank (ECB) have been dragging their feet in terms of quantitative easing, but finally committed to €60 billion/mo, starting this month to stimulate their sluggish economy.

Investing ideas: It might sound aggressive but there are bargains in the European multinational sector (Nestle, Sanofi, Total, Telfonica, BNP Paribas, France Telecom, Siemens, Deutsche Telekom, Bayer, etc,.).
If you prefer to let the monetary easing play out first, that’s a wise move. Also consider investing opportunities in Japan.

Although the unemployment rate is steadily declining, most believe the economy haven’t createdneed-job
enough jobs, and the data is not sufficient to start taking victory laps. “The latest jobs numbers released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate further steps are necessary to boost employment demand, which is still not close to the level that will generate healthy wage growth. Although the U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs in February, wages grew by only 2.0 percent over the past year according to the new BLS data.” writes Ben Zipperer. His well written article also talks about wage increase and strength in the labor market. Read full article HERE
Currently, we inched our way down to 5.5% – according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. – a long way from 9-10% unemployment.

2015-financial-goalsThe 2015 financial outlook might be worrisome, but many indicators are pointing to a strong economy; those factors could determine if   we are on stable footing or turmoils are ahead. Things to watch in the upcoming months are corporate earnings, crude oil stability, retailers, job reports, and FEDs monetary tone and sentiment on the economy
Remember, it all begins with understanding your goals and investment objectives. A diversified portfolio has been proven to be the best approach in a world of uncertainties. Financial planning is crucial and must be discussed with a professional financial advisor who seeks your best investment needs and interests.

Until next time, happy investing!!

Why invest even during shaky economic condition

So why should you invest during shaky economic conditions??  Because your financial strategy should be defined for the long term – that’s the simple answer.  Those blips in the economy will be insignificant 5 years from now.  With the current sprawling globalization, the world is getting smaller.  Events and headlines from across the globe have a more significant impact on the economy because countries are more interconnected than ever before.  While the ebb and flow of these dynamic events can bring about uncertainty, it is important for investors to remember not to panic or make impulsive decisions.
Patience is a virtue.  Invest

It is important to keep focused on the long-term horizon and not be swayed by the vagaries of near-term market and economic fluctuations.  As the old adage says, “This too shall pass.”  The mixed messages do not eliminate the need to save for the future.

The goal of every investor should be to weather the storm of short-term volatility and continue to invest to meet future demands.  This includes financing for important life events, such as purchasing a home, funding a college tuition plan and meeting the fiscal demands of retirement.
Savers should review their investment allocation strategies to ensure that funds are being applied where they will earn the greatest returns.  A down market may also be the best time to add to a portfolio to be in a better position to take advantage of any subsequent swings higher.  Investors should seek the advice of a professional financial planner who can help guide them and provide insights on where to invest during periods of uncertainty.

How can creating a budget save you money?

A dynamic budget supporting the best effort for individuals to save is the critical path to financial success. In everyday life, saving is becoming harder and harder to do; often overlooked.  Families are experiencing the reality of price increases and beyond what they can historically afford.  Thus making saving less attainable and more like a catch-up process.  Creating a budget can help alleviate broad concerns of living from paycheck to paycheck, and the uncertainties of today’s economic conditions.Creating a Budget

A monthly budget is a plan for how you will allocate income to meet your expenses for a designated month. Some think of budgets as spending constraints, but budgets are better described as spending plans. If you budget correctly you will be able to spend money on things you enjoy without worrying about meeting other financial obligations, going into credit card debt, overdrawing your accounts.

GasPrices-1All indicators are pointing to a rocky 2014. Here are the facts:
The costs of living have been on a steady climb- The CPI index has increased by 1.5% over the past 12 months.  Rising agriculture prices are being passed onto consumers, crude oil price manipulations are driving gas hikes at the pump – a slight interruption at the refineries or a hiccup in supplies has given the Oil companies a ‘carte blanche’ to hike prices at will.  Now that they have pacified us with $4 per gallon. their next target is $5/gal. Those prices are here to stay; so get used to it or start looking at a cost efficient means of transportation.  Apparently the American people are no match to the deep pockets of Oil companies and their hired goons: the lobbyists.

Globalization is the bi-product of evolution, in turn, there are a slew of uncontrollable metrics and situations stemming from all around the World.  The Europeans are our close neighbors, and their economy troubles or any political unrest can directly impact us here.  Although we can’t control what goes on over there… GasPipes-Ukrainebut we sure have control over what’s going on in our lives.  By steadily adhering to your budget and making progress on your savings’ plan, you will eventually form a peace in mind that you, your children and loved ones will be protected. Your hard earned income will be safe from glitches, tyranny, market collapse, or corruption unrelated to our country.

By understanding your spending patterns you can achieve better control over your income.  Consider the necessities first, then work your way down to the must haves – not omitting activities that promotes quality of living. Going to the movies with the family once a week, not only brings joy but builds a great bond.  Such activities contribute to life long memories and are the building blocks for every healthy family.

budget-1Setting a budget allows you to examine your spending at a detailed level and helps you understand where your money is going!  Start by listing all your expenses one by one.  We must make tough choices to hedge against a stormy economic environment.  The secret is to plan for a worst-case scenario, then make spending decisions on money made available by better financial navigation during the year.  Be proactive and take action today.  Allow your hard earned income to work for you.  If you can’t save today, then try saving tomorrow, or the next day.  Excuses are for the unprepared.

Click HERE for some online budgeting tools.  There are numerous budgeting mobile applications depending on your operating system: 1) For iOS click HERE. 2) For Android, click HERE.  Those are just examples, other applications might suit your needs better than the ones provided in my links.

Read more on how creating a budget HERE can save you money.  Make it a great day.

The illusive American Dream… what happened?

I would like to share an article with you that I wrote back in September 2012… most of those issues haven’t changed or improved (but I have made minor updates!)

Has the American dream become a real nightmare…??

It’s clear that our Nation has an addiction to gas guzzling vehicles, fast food, credit cards, lattes, energy drinks, reality TV, the sense of entitlement, instant gratification, social media outlets, …
A government that is infested of crooked politicians.
A downgraded economy that is in the tank, flirting with a double dip recession.
A national debt north of $17.566 Trillion.
Unemployment rate of 6.7% (12.8 million Americans are jobless).
An administration on a spending spree.
A middle class shrinking and burdened by this mountain of debt; watched their nest egg shrink by 40% since ’07 (made some recovery in 2013).

Society that is mesmerized by celebrities and sports figures; their lives, gossips and nonsense.
Ineffective Federal Reserve – that think printing more money is the solution.
Greedy Wall Street CEOs, roaming around Congress asking for favors.
Corrupt banking systems that got bailed out by the taxpayers; now making hand over first in profits.
Unethical Pharmaceutical giants, gouging consumers with high drug prices.
Social security system that is running out of money.

Big government that thinks it knows best, with huge spending appetite – telling us how to live our lives.American Dream-broke
Failed and costly healthcare system.
Rising cost of living ($3.50 for a gallon of milk, $4 for a bag of chips).
Small businesses getting crushed by China/India/Brasil (the tide is now slowly turning).
Oil companies pocketing $billions of our hard earned money, gouging us at the pump.

What happened to the fundamental American principles?? Family values??
Aren’t we all tired of the status quo?? of being pacified with empty promises?? Aren’t we all frustrated of gas at $4/gallon?? Hikes in the cost of living?? Saddled by this national debt??  I could go on and on…

Here are ways we can make this American Dream a reality again:
Let us invest in teachers, scientists, engineers… not in rockstars, basketball thugs..
Let us Invest in small businesses, factories, clean energy (wind, solar & natural gas).
Let us cut our addiction on oil and get rid of our dependency on the middle east.
Let us regulate wall street and restrict shorting the market (which bets against economical growth and more on greed), and high frequency trading schemes.
Let us focus on exporting more, importing less.
Let us cut taxes on businesses, and bring back jobs to our country, grow our GDP, regulate wall street, shrink unemployment, stop waging wars and meddling in other countries, strengthen our middle class, reduce the deficit and balance our budget, invest in education, explore our natural resources….

Let us start a revolution.AmericanProsperityWhat say you?!!
Rob H

The American middle class – is it shrinking ?

What’s the definition of middle class and its role in today’s society:

The American middle class by one definition consists of an upper middle class, made up of professionals, salaried professionals and managers – distinguished by exceptionally high educational attainment as well as high economic security; and a lower middle class, consisting mostly of semi-professionals such as skilled craftsmen and lower-level management. The lower middle class needs two income earners in order to sustain a comfortable standard of living, while many upper middle class households can maintain a similar standard of living with just one income earner.

The American middle class commonly have a comfortable standard of living, significant economic security, considerable work autonomy and rely on their expertise to sustain themselves. Those individuals, are characterized by conceptualizing, creating and consulting. Middle class values tend to emphasize independence, adherence to intrinsic standards, valuing innovation and respecting non-conformity. Politically more active than other demographics, college educated middle class professionals are split between the two major parties. Their income varies considerably from near the national median to well in excess of $100,000. They are very influential, as they encompass the majority of voters, writers, teachers, journalists, and editors

Most societal trends in the US originate within the American middle classes

The American middle class IS slowly shrinking. It’s getting short changed in every way – from tax codes being skewed towards the 1%, system loopholes, tax shelters, tax-evasion, big government, to retirement contribution caps.


Fact: The top 5 percent of earners accounted for almost 40 percent of personal consumption expenditures in 2012, up from 27 percent in 1992. Largely driven by this increase, consumption among the top 20 percent grew to more than 60 percent over the same period.

top 5 percent chart

Even more striking, the current recovery has been driven almost entirely by the upper crust. Since 2009, the year the recession ended, inflation-adjusted spending by this top echelon has risen 17 percent, compared with just 1 percent among the bottom 95 percent, (according to the economists Steven Fazzari, of Washington University in St. Louis, and Barry Cynamon, of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis).

The effects of this phenomenon are now rippling through one sector after another in the American economy, from retailers and restaurants to hotels, casinos and even appliance makers.

In response to the upward shift in spending, big stores and restaurants are chasing richer customers with a wider offering of high-end goods and services, or focusing on rock-bottom prices to attract the expanding ranks of penny-pinching consumers.

For example, luxury gambling properties like Wynn and the Venetian in Las Vegas are booming, drawing in more high rollers than regional casinos in Atlantic City, upstate New York and Connecticut, which attract a less affluent clientele who are not betting as much, said Steven Kent, an analyst at Goldman Sachs.  Read full report here.



Take charge of your financial strategies to keep up with current regulations, economic evolution, and tax laws. Open retirement account(s), use tax-exempt funds, save rigorously, contribute religiously.


Economic growth: Vanguard’s prospective- must read!

Vanguard, one of the world’s largest and most respected mutual fund companies, has published an extensive paper on their global growth and assessment, covering topics such as economic growth, inflation, interest rates, stock, and bond return over the next 10 years. I urge to read full report here:

Here are the snippets of their economic growth report:

Global economy. For the first time since the financial crisis, our leading indicators point to a slight pickup in near-term growth for the United States, parts of Europe, and other select developed markets. Continued progress in U.S. consumer de-leveraging, strong corporate balance sheets, firmer global trade, and less fiscal drag indicate U.S. growth approaching 3%. That said, this cyclical assessment should be placed against a backdrop of high unemployment and government debt; ongoing structural reforms in Europe, China, and Japan; and extremely aggressive monetary policy with exit strategies that have yet to be tested.

Inflation. In the near term, reflationary monetary policies will continue to counteract the deflationary bias of a high-debt world still recovering from a deep financial crisis. As was suggested in previous outlooks,
consumer price inflation remains near generational lows and, in several major economies, below the targeted rate. Key U.S. drivers generally point to higher but modest core inflation trends in the 1%–3% range for the next several years. For now, the risk of returning to the high inflationary regime of the 1970s is low despite the size of central bank balance sheets; in parts of Europe and in Japan, the specter of deflation remains a greater risk.

Monetary policy. Tapering of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing (QE) program has begun, although an actual tightening is likely some time off. The Fed’s forward guidance implies that the federal funds rate will remain near 0% through mid-2015; the risk that this “lift-off” date will be further delayed is notably lower than it was in prior periods. However, real (inflation-adjusted) short-term interest rates will probably remain negative through perhaps 2017. Globally, the burdens on monetary policymakers are high as they contemplate exiting from QE policies to prevent asset bubbles on one hand and remain mindful of raising short-term rates too aggressively on the other. The exit may induce market volatility at times, but long-term investors should prefer that to no exit at all.

Interest rates. The bond market continues to expect Treasury yields to rise, with a bias toward a steeper yield curve until the Federal Reserve raises short-term rates. Compared with last year’s outlook, our estimates of the “fair value” range for the 10-year Treasury bond have risen; the macroeconomic environment justifies a ten-year yield in the range of 2.75%–3.75% at present. However, we continue to hold the view that a more normalized environment in which rates move toward 5% based on stronger growth, inflation, and monetary tightening may be several years away. We maintain that the odds of a U.S. fiscal crisis and a sharp spike in yields are less than 10% at the moment, although they rise later in the decade based on the expected trajectory of U.S. federal debt.

Global bond market. As in past editions, the return outlook for fixed income is muted, although it has improved somewhat with the recent rise in real rates. The expected ten-year median nominal return of a broad, globally diversified fixed income investment is centered in the 1.5%–3.0% range, versus last year’s expected range of 0.5%–2.0%. It is important to note that we expect the diversification benefits of fixed income in a balanced portfolio to persist under most scenarios. We believe that the prospects of losses in bond portfolios should be weighed against the magnitude of potential losses in equity portfolios, because the latter have tended to exhibit much larger swings in returns.

Economic Growth Outlook-Vanguard

Global equity market. After several years of suggesting that strong equity returns were possible despite a prolonged period of sub-par economic growth, our outlook for global equities has become more guarded. The expected ten-year median nominal return is below historical averages and has shifted toward the bottom of the 6%–9% range compared with this time last year, a reflection of less constructive market valuations (i.e., price/earnings ratios) in the United States and some other developed markets. A notably wide range of outcomes is possible, even over long horizons, making us hard-pressed to identify market “bubbles.” However, we are uneasy about signs of froth in certain segments of the global equity market. Because the premium compensating increased equity risk appears to have come down recently, we would encourage investors to exercise caution in making strategic or tactical portfolio changes that increase this risk.

Asset allocation strategies. Broadly speaking, the outlook for risk premiums is lower across a range of investments than was the case just two or three years ago. Our simulations indicate that balanced portfolio returns over the next decade are likely to be below long-run historical averages, with those for a 60% stock/40% bond portfolio tending to center in the 3%–5% range, adjusted for inflation. Even so, Vanguard still firmly believes that the expected risk-return trade-off among stocks and bonds leaves the principles of portfolio construction unchanged. Specifically, our simulated mean-variance frontier of
expected returns is upward sloping—it anticipates higher strategic returns for more aggressive portfolios, accompanied by greater downside risk. We believe that a long-term, strategic approach with a balanced, diversified, low-cost portfolio can remain a high-value proposition in the decade ahead.

This was an excellent report; well written, supported with plethora of details. Great Job to the authors (Joseph Davis, Ph.D., Roger Aliaga-Díaz, Ph.D., Charles J. Thomas, CFA, Andrew J. Patterson, CFA)

Cyclical vs Non-Cyclical Industry- what does that mean?

If you’re confused about the terminology you’re not alone: I was at first! Here are some definitions and guidlines

It’s a type of industry that is sensitive to the business cycles, such that revenues are generally higher in periods of economic prosperity, and lower in economic downturn. Cyclical stocks follow an upward trend when businesses and consumers are spending money.
Companies in cyclical industries can deal with volatility by implementing cuts to compensations and layoffs during bad times, and paying bonuses and hiring in good times. In good economic conditions, businesses expand, they buy new equipment and build new facilities. Moreover, people have more disposable income and therefore, more willing to spend money on vacations, air travel, purchasing cars, etc,.
The Cyclical Consumer Goods & Services economic sector consists of companies engaged in the production of automobiles, home building, household goods, textiles and apparel, as well as hotel, casino, leisure, media and retail operations and services. Cyclical industries also include companies that produce durable goods such as raw materials & heavy equipment, equipment sales & construction, steel manufacturing, airlines.
It’s a type of industry that is sort of immune to business cycles. Non-Cyclical Stocks or defensive stocks do well in economic downturns, since demand for their products and services continues regardless of the economy.  When the economy is growing, these stocks tend to lag behind, however during economic downturns; their steady returns may look good.Utilities-services  The Non-Cyclical Consumer Goods and Services economic sector consists of companies engaged in fishing and farming operations; the processing and production of food, beverages and tobacco; manufacturers of household and personal products; and providers of personal services, utilities. Everyone from consumers to businesses needs water, gas, and electricity…
Cyclical stocks represent those items and services for consumers and businesses that they buy when confidence in the economy is high.
Non-cyclical stocks represent those items and services for consumers and businesses that they can’t put off no matter what the state of the economy.
For investors wanting a more conservative posture, non-cyclical stocks – many of which also pay nice dividends – should make up part of your portfolio.
Understand this- relative safety comes with a price like missing growth opportunities in an up market.

What is Capital Gain? and Do I get taxed on it?

Capital gain is a profit that results from investing in a capital asset, such as stock, bond, or real estate. When you sell an asset for less than its purchase price, on the other hand, you incur a capital loss. Several factors determine the nature of your capital gain (or loss), including the type of asset and the duration of ownership.

The term capital gain is used to describe the profit earned from buying an investment or other asset at one price and selling it at a different, higher price. For instance, if you bought a real estate for $350,000 and sold it for $500,000, you would need to report total capital gains of $150,000 ($500,000 selling price – $350,000 cost basis = $300,000 capital gains profit).

Capital gain can be earned on stocks, bonds, mutual funds, works of art, real estate, or virtually anything else that can be considered an investment.

The Taxes on capital gain varies depending on:
1) type of investment,
2) length of time you held the investment, and
3) whether you plan to offset those gains by other capital losses.