Desperately Seeking Diversity, Simplicity

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If you think choosing the right investments is complicated, you’re not alone. Investors looking for simplicity and portfolio diversification are driving demand for all-in-one investment options.
Desperately Seeking Diversity, Simplicity
If you think choosing the right investments is complicated, you’re not alone. Investors looking for simplicity and portfolio diversification are driving demand for all-in-one investment options.

According to Strategic Insights, a market research firm serving the mutual fund industry, more than two-thirds of the $150 billion that investors added to mutual funds in 2004 landed in asset allocation products.

So what exactly are these all-in-one investments? In a nutshell, they are broadly diversified, professionally managed funds that can serve as a complete portfolio. They come in primarily two flavors.

* Lifestyle or life-cycle funds focus on a particular level of risk. These can be an appropriate choice for investors who want a diversified core investment solution that offers a specific level of risk and potential reward.

* Age- or target-year-based funds target a specific investment time frame or goal. As each fund’s target year approaches, its exposure to stocks (and corresponding risk) will decrease and its exposure to bonds and money market investments will increase to reduce risk and preserve capital. These funds can be suitable choices for investors seeking a core investment strategy for retirement planning or who have a set number of years to invest.

American Century currently offers both types. My Retirement Portfolios is a series of five age- or target-year-based funds, while One Choice Portfolios is a separate series of five risk-based funds.

Both portfolios are made up of American Century stock funds, bond funds and money market funds. The portfolios’ managers adjust asset classes and weightings to emphasize investments they believe provide the most favorable outlook for achieving results.

Doug Lockwood is a certified financial planner for American Century Investments.

Ask for a prospectus that contains investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses, and other information that should be carefully read and considered before investing.

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Growth and Value: What’s the Difference?

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While the majority of American investors understand the importance of diversifying across growth and value investments, few are able to achieve a passing grade on a test of their knowledge of the differences between the two, according to a new American Century Investments survey.
Growth and Value: What’s the Difference?
While the majority of American investors understand the importance of diversifying across growth and value investments, few are able to achieve a passing grade on a test of their knowledge of the differences between the two, according to a new American Century Investments survey.

Test your knowledge with the Growth & Value IQ quiz below:

1. Which best describes a growth stock?

a) Stock that offers guaranteed rate of growth tied to consumer price index.

b) Stock in a company specializing in agriculture, lumber, landscaping, and other organic products.

c) A stock in a company demonstrating better than average profit and earnings gains.

d) All of the above.

2. Which best describes a value stock?

a) Stock in fast-growing company specializing in high-value, low-cost products, like a discount retailer.

b) Stock in a company specializing in valuable goods, like precious metals and jewelry.

c) Stock that has a low price-to-book ratio.

d) All of the above.

3. Which statement is true?

a) Value stocks outperformed growth stocks between 1927 and 2001.

b) Smaller company value stocks outperformed larger company value stocks between 1927 and 2001.

c) Maintaining a portfolio with a combination of growth and value stocks generally is considered a prudent investment approach.

d) All of the above.

4. During periods of strong economic expansion, which fund generally performs better?

a) Growth.

b) Value.

c) Neither.

d) Both.

5. Generally speaking, value funds outpaced growth funds in 2000 and 2001.

a) True.

b) False.

6. Generally speaking, growth funds outpaced value funds during the 1990s.

a) True.

b) False.

7. Which type of fund is more likely to invest in stocks paying a significant dividend?

a) Growth.

b) Value.

c) Neither.

d) Both.

8. Higher price-to-earnings ratios normally would be associated with stocks in which type of mutual fund?

a) Growth.

b) Value.

c) Neither.

d) Both.

9. What kind of stock is described in this example: “Established baked-goods company with strong balance sheet and good cash flow experiencing temporary drop in reaction to changes in senior management.”

a) Growth.

b) Value.

c) Neither.

10. What kind of stock is described in this example: “Software company, enjoying steady sales increases, is in the process of rolling out an eagerly anticipated update to a popular software application.”

a) Growth.

b) Value.

c) Neither.

Key: 1(c); 2(c); 3(d); 4(a); 5(a); 6(a); 7(b); 8(a); 9(b); 10(a). – NU

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