Compare Investment Vehicles

compareNot all investment vehicles are created equal or work for your personal financial goals. Some provide steady income and are low risk, but yield small returns on investment; others may provide significant returns, but require a long term investment commitment. There is a wide assortment of investment vehicles available. Some of the most popular include: mutual funds, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, savings bonds or bond funds, stocks, and certificates of deposit.

Some investments pay out earnings on a regular (quarterly, monthly, or annual) basis, while others pay out earnings at the end of the investment period or may have age requirements for when you can withdraw your money without a penalty. Make sure your investment income stream matches your investment timeline.

You should also consider the tax ramifications. If you are saving for retirement or for education, consider investments that offer incentives for saving for a particular purpose. Your contributions for some investments are tax deductible, but the earnings are not taxed (e.g. Roth IRA); your contributions to other investments may not be taxed, but the earnings are taxed (e.g. traditional IRA).

You don’t have to put all of your money in one investment. Consider diversifying your investment portfolio by placing your money in several investment vehicles. This can protect you from risk; while one of your investments may be performing poorly, another one of your investments can make up for those losses.

Type of Investment What is it? Risk level
Traditional IRA Traditional IRA is a personal savings plan that gives tax advantages for savings for retirement. Investments may include variety of securities. Contributions may be tax-deductible; earnings are not taxed until distributed. Risk levels vary according to the holdings in the IRA
Roth IRA A personal savings plan where earnings that remain in the account are not taxed. Investments may include a variety of securities. Contributions are not tax-deductible. Risk levels vary according to the holding in the IRA
Money Market Funds Mutual funds that invest in short-term bonds. Usually pays better interest rates than a savings account but not as much as a certificate of deposit (CD). Low risk.
Bonds and Bond Funds Also known as fixed-income securities because the income they pay is fixed when the bond is sold. Bonds and bond funds invest in corporate or government debt obligations. Low risk.
Index Funds Invest in a particular market index. An index fund is passively managed and simply mirrors the performance of the designated stock or bond index. Risk level depends on which index the fund uses. A bond index fund involves a lower risk level than an index fund of emerging markets overseas.
Stocks Stocks represent a share of a company As the company’s value rises or falls, so does the value of the stock. Medium to high risk.
Mutual funds Invest in a variety of securities, which may include stocks, bonds, and/or money market securities. Costs and objectives vary. Risk levels vary according to the holdings in the mutual fund.

Investigate Before You Invest

investigateWhat do you want to invest in: stocks, bonds, mutual funds? Do you want to open an IRA or buy an annuity? Does your employer offer a 401K? Remember, every investment involves some degree of risk. Most securities are not insured by the Federal government if they lose money or fail, even if you purchase them through a bank or credit union that offers Federally insured savings accounts. Make sure you have answers to all of these questions before you invest:

  • Define your goals. Ask yourself “Why am I investing money?” Maybe you want to save money to purchase a house or to save for retirement. Maybe you would like to have money to pay for your child’s education, or just to have a financial cushion to handle unexpected expenses or a loss of income.
  • How quickly can you get your money back? Stocks, bonds, and shares in mutual funds can usually be sold at any time, but there is no guarantee you will get back all the money you paid for them. Other investments, such as limited partnerships, often restrict your ability to cash out your holdings.
  • What can you expect to earn on your money? While bonds generally promise a fixed return, earnings on most other securities go up and down with market changes. Also, keep in mind that just because an investment has done well in the past, there is no guarantee it will do well in the future.
  • What type of earnings can you expect? Will you get income in the form of interest, dividends or rent? Some investments, such as stocks and real estate, have the potential for earnings and growth in value. What is the potential for earnings over time?
  • How much risk is involved? With any investment, there is always the risk that you won’t get your money back or the earnings promised. There is usually a trade-off between risk and reward: the higher the potential return, the greater the risk. The federal government insures bank savings accounts and backs up U.S. Treasury securities (including savings bonds). Other investment options are not protected.
  • Are your investments diversified? Some investments perform better than others in certain situations. For example, when interest rates go up, bond prices tend to go down. One industry may struggle while another prospers. Putting your money in a variety of investment options can help to reduce your risk.
  • Are there any tax advantages to a particular investment? U.S. Savings Bonds are exempt from state and local taxes. Municipal bonds are exempt from federal income tax and, sometimes, state income tax as well. For special goals, such as paying for college and retirement, tax-deferred investments are available that let you postpone or even eliminate payment of income taxes.

10 smart ways to avoid investments fraud

  • fraudAlways Deal with certified financial planner.
  • Always check the identity card of the person to whom you’re dealing with. Check the company name & date of validity of the card.
  • Do not blindly trust any one even if you know him / her from several years. Always ask for official brochure of the product you’re dealing with & see everything written there.
  • Always use your own pen while filling application form and/or cheques. The era of frauds using invisible ink of agents has just begun.
  • Always write application no., your name, mobile phone no. at the back of the cheque. If you’re giving renewal premium cheque, write your policy no. also.
  • Ask for official illustration of the insurance product or fact sheet of mutual fund before investing.
  • Ask your advisor to show the comparison with other competitive products. You may like some feature of other product which your advisor does not like.
  • Note down the your agent / distributor full contact details before submitting application forms like full name, license no., branch address & phone no., residential address & phone no. – mobile phone & landline, email address etc.
  • Always put the date below your signature, where ever you sign.
  • When you get your policy bond / statement of account, check all the details 
    like your name, contact details, nominee name & other things. Go through all the documents. Pay attention to the charges portion carefully. The company gives photocopy of your filled application form along with your signed official illustration with policy bond.
  • Check for renewal date & payment frequency carefully in your policy bond. It has come to notice that several agents had taken the cheque from customers for yearly mode or half-yearly mode & has submitted the documents on monthly mode.

List of United States insurance companies

Following is the list of insurance companies of USA

Insurance in the United States

  • Allison Insurance
  • 21st Century Insurance
  • Aetna
  • Aflac
  • Alleghany Corporation
  • Allied Insurance
  • Allstate
  • American Automobile Association
  • American Family Insurance
  • American Income Life Insurance Company
  • American International Group (AIG)
  • American National Insurance Company
  • American United Life Insurance Company
  • Ameritas Life Insurance Company
  • Amica Mutual Insurance
  • Assurant
  • Auto-Owners Insurance
  • AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
  • Bankers Life and Casualty Company
  • Berkshire Hathaway
  • California Casualty
  • Cincinnati Insurance Company
  • CNA Financial
  • Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company
  • Commerce Insurance Group
  • Conseco
  • Country Financial
  • Chartis
  • Chubb Corp.
  • Elephant.com
  • Encompass Insurance Company
  • Erie Insurance Group
  • Esurance
  • Evergreen USA RRG
  • FM Global
  • Farmers Insurance Group
  • Federated Mutual Insurance Company
  • First Insurance Company of Hawaii, LTD
  • GAINSCO
  • GEICO
  • General Re
  • Genworth Financial
  • GMAC Insurance
  • Great West Casualty Company
  • Gracy Title Company
  • Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
  • GuideOne Insurance
  • Hanover Insurance
  • The Hartford
  • HCC Insurance Holdings
  • Infinity Property & Casualty Corporation
  • Jackson National Life
  • John Hancock Insurance
  • K&K Insurance
  • Kentucky Farm Bureau
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Lincoln National Corporation
  • Markel Corporation
  • MassMutual Financial Group
  • Merchants Insurance Group
  • Mercury Insurance Group
  • MetLife
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company
  • New York Life Insurance Company
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Omega
  • OneBeacon
  • Oxford Health Plans
  • Pacific Life
  • Pacificare
  • PEMCO
  • Penn Mutual
  • Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire
  • Philadelphia Insurance Companies
  • Principal Financial Group
  • [[Primerica Financial
  • Progressive
  • Protective Life
  • Prudential Financial
  • The Regence Group
  • Reliance Insurance Company
  • RLI Corp.
  • Safe Auto Insurance Company
  • Safeco
  • Safeway Insurance Group
  • Sentry Insurance
  • Selective Insurance
  • Shelter Insurance
  • Southern Aid and Insurance Company
  • Standard Insurance Company
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Sun Life Financial
  • Symetra
  • TIAA-CREF
  • The Travelers Companies
  • Trupanion
  • Unitrin Direct Auto Insurance
  • Unum
  • USAA
  • West Coast Life
  • Western Mutual Insurance Group
  • Western & Southern Financial Group
  • Westfield Insurance
  • White Mountains Insurance Group

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Life annuity

  • Allstate
  • American Family Insurance
  • American Fidelity Assurance
  • Amica Mutual Insurance
  • AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
  • Bankers Life and Casualty
  • Conseco
  • Farmers Insurance Group
  • Fidelity
  • Genworth Financial
  • ING Group
  • Jackson National Life
  • John Hancock Insurance
  • Lincoln National Corporation
  • MetLife
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • Old Mutual
  • Pacific Life
  • Protective Life
  • Prudential Financial
  • Standard Insurance Company
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • TIAA-CREF
  • Transamerica Corporation
  • UNIFI Companies
  • United of Omaha
  • Western & Southern Financial Group

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Health insurance in the United States

  • AARP
  • Aetna
  • American Family Insurance
  • American National Insurance Company
  • Amerigroup
  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Assurant
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
  • Centene Corporation
  • Cigna
  • Coventry Health Care
  • EmblemHealth
  • Fortis
  • Golden Rule Insurance Company
  • Group Health Cooperative
  • GHI
  • Health Net
  • HealthMarkets
  • HealthSpring
  • Highmark
  • Humana
  • Independence Blue Cross
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Kaleida Health
  • LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon
  • Medical Mutual of Ohio
  • Molina Healthcare
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Principal Financial Group
  • The Regence Group
  • Shelter Insurance
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • Unitrin
  • Universal American Corporation
  • WellCare Health Plans
  • WellPoint

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Medicare (United States)

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  • Aetna
  • American Family Insurance
  • Bankers Life and Casualty
  • Conseco
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • Tricare
  • Supplemental insurance
  • Aflac
  • Allstate
  • American Fidelity Assurance
  • Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company
  • Conseco
  • Liberty National Life Insurance Company
  • MEGA Life and Health Insurance
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • National Teachers Associates Life Insurance Company
  • State Farm Insurance

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Travel insurance

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  • Mondial Assistance Group
  • Travel Guard
  • USA-ASSIST Worldwide Protection

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Workers’ compensation

Assist Card

  • Accident Fund
  • American International Group (AIG)
  • Erie Insurance Group
  • Hanover Insurance
  • The Hartford
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Merchants Insurance Group
  • Missouri Employers Mutual
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • Penn National Insurance
  • Republican Ideminity Co
  • Sentry Insurance
  • State Accident Insurance Fund
  • State Compensation Insurance Fund
  • State Farm Insurance
  • WellPoint
  • Zenith Insurance Company