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For many entry-level investors, hedge funds are shrouded in mystery and exclusivity.

Its common, for example, for media coverage to focus on the ultra-wealthy founders and CEOs of hedge funds, such as Ray Dalio or Bill Ackman, as well as their secretive investing strategies or exclusive clientele. Like investment banks, they are seen as an elite fixture on Wall Street, and they also get scapegoated for a variety of market problems ranging from manipulation to a lack of transparency.

However, despite an image of complexity and secrecy, the basics around hedge funds are actually quite easy to understand. Todays infographic highlights some of those key points.

Hedge funds are generally structured in a similar manner to venture capital funds:

General partner:This partner is in charge of the fund, and invests capital based on the funds objectives.

Limited partner:This partner is an investor that supplies some of the capital. Its worth noting that generally only accredited investors are allowed by the SEC to invest in hedge funds, as they are considered high-risk investments.

With the money from general and limited partners, the fund executes on its investing strategy. Hedge fund strategies can range from trading currencies with extreme leverage to using event-driven tactics such as taking activist positions in companies.

Other hedge funds, such as Renaissance Technologies, are known for their focus on trading using big data, AI, and machine learning and for taking an outside approach to investing by hiring mathematicians, physicists, or other people with non-financial backgrounds.

Its most common for hedge funds to use a two and twenty fee structure. Limited partners pay a 2% asset management fee, and a 20% cut from any profits generated.

Arguably, the biggest benefit of investing in hedge funds stems from the ability to partner with some of the worlds top investment managers, and to generate returns that do not correlate with the market. Hedge funds can help to diversify a portfolio and when the general market is struggling, hedge funds using the right strategy can still provide a handsome return.

In terms of cons, hedge funds require investors to lock up money for extended periods of time, and also tend to charge significant fees. Lastly, the use of leverage can magnify small losses, and a lack of diversification within a given fund can lead to more concentrated losses, as well.

For more on hedge funds, see48 key hedge fund termsevery investors should know.

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The investment universe is vast but its also made up of many smaller components. See it all depicted in this nifty periodic table of investments.

The investment universe is vast, but its also made up of many smaller moving pieces.

For serious investors, the foundation of the discipline is to understand the properties of these individual components, and to have them work in harmony to achieve a specific portfolio goal.

To do this successfully, one must understand the breadth of asset classes, tactics, and categories of investments that exist and to know how they relate to one another.

Todays infographic comes from Phil Huber, the Chief Investment Officer for Huber Financial Advisors, who has cleverly depicted this relationship graphically in hisblog.

Similar to how the physical universe is made up of chemical elements, he sees the possibilities around portfolio management as drawing from a broad pool of investing elements. Combine these different elements together, and you get compounds, structures, and eventually entire funds.

The periodic table of investments created by his team denotes each type of investment, the primary and secondary strategy related to it, and a color classification:

Here are the seven objectives that the top letters on each box refer to:

And finally, here are the colors that each block on the periodic table correspond to:

As you can see, considerable thought has been put into the categories and classifications. However, as Phil notes, this is simply the opinion of one person and it is not intended to be a universally accurate depiction of all portfolio management wisdom that exists:

I fully expect that there are a handful of omissions, or perhaps a few areas where one might flat-out disagree with how Ive laid things out. This was not meant to be 100% exhaustive, nor was it meant to be indicative of what one of our portfolios looks like.

For more of the lessons that can be derived from this clever periodic table of investments, we suggest checking out theoriginal poston Hubers blog.

Is there anything that he missed, or that you think could be classified better?

Millionaires are more common than you may think here are the steps you need to take with your retirement investments to become a 401(k) millionaire.

Theres nothing more definitive in the journey to financial freedom than hitting the $1 million mark in retirement savings.

A nest egg like that is a near-guarantee that you could surmount any curveball the world throws at you, whether it is an unexpected family emergency or anything else.

While $1 million certainly sounds like a lofty milestone to many, its actually quite a common achievement:

And contrary to popular belief, to become a 401(k) millionaire, you dont need to strike it rich with a lucky stock pick, or use a crystal ball to forecast the future of the market.

Your best bet is to simply focus only on the factors you can control.

Todays infographic is from Tony Robbins, and it covers key points from his 1 Best Selling bookUnshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook, which is now available on paperback.

It shows that the biggest winners in the financial game know that they cant predict the future, and instead titans like Warren Buffett or Jack Bogle focus intently on the factors they can control, knowing that with the right approach theyll thrive in almost any market.

The force of compound interest is more powerful over longer periods of time.

Staying calm and focused on the long term during periods of turmoil is key.

Proper asset allocation and frequent re-balancing can position you to weather any storm.

Expenses and taxes are silent killers, and must be minimized strategically.

By diligently working to take control of these four factors, your odds of attaining financial freedom are extremely high. Here is each factor in more depth.

The power of compound interest isextraordinary, making time your best friend when it comes to building a battle chest of retirement savings.

The current maximum contribution limit for 401(k)s is $18,500 per year, not including what is matched by your employer. If you maxed out on contributions and started investing early, you can hit $1 million before retirement even in sub-optimal market conditions:

Time can make up for a lack of investing acumen. Wait until later, and things get very difficult by age 50, you need market beating returns!

If youre taking advantage of the power of compound interest over a long period of time, whether that is 20, 30, or 40 years, it is inevitable that there will be bumps in the road:

Stock market corrections happen once a year, on average

Bear markets happen once in every 3-5 years, on average

Bear markets vary in length, but on average last one year

Through decades of investing, the fact is you are going to see bear markets it is how youhandle themthat counts.

Even when its the most tempting to sell, remember these facts:

In other words, having the discipline to hold through the turbulence can be the difference maker and a key factor you can control in your journey to becoming a 401(k) millionaire.

Another factor you control is portfolio diversification, and here are four ways diversification can minimize risk:

Stocks, bonds, and alternative assets like real estate or gold.

Consumer goods, tech, energy, financials, etc.

Add to investments regularly, because there is never a right time to buy

A properly designed portfolio can weather any storm, and re-balancing it on a regular basis will force you to sell assets at market highs, while buying at low points.

The fees on your 401(k) statement might not seem like much, but even 1% or 2% can make a big difference over the long term.

For example: the value of $1 compounding for 50 years at 5% will be worth $11.50, but if it averages 7% it will be worth $29.50. Thats almost three times more!

Expenses, both seen and hidden, can be a silent killer any portfolio, so keeping them to a necessary minimum can help you get to the promised land.

If becoming a 401(k) millionaire was easy, everyone could do it.

But to be successful, you need to take control over factors like time, diversification, discipline, and costs ideally with a qualified and experienced financial advisor and partner. Then, you need to stick to the plan and let the market do its work.

Investing is a game of inches. If your returns improve by, say, 2 or 3 percentage points a year, the cumulative impact over decades is astounding, thanks to the power of compounding.

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