The guidance channel on Schwab is where you will find information on how to prepare for various financial events such as retirement, college, or a new child. This is also the place to go for various financial calculators such as those designed to determine how much you need to put aside for retirement or to pay for college education. The guidance channel offers a wide range of tools, and the best way to find those that might be helpful to you is to browse the site for a while. For the purposes of this article, we will simply look at a few of the more popular guidance tools that Schwab offers.

  • TurboTax - you can find information on how to link your Schwab account with TurboTax for ease of filing come tax time

  • New wealth - Schwab offers a lot of information aimed at helping individuals prudently manage and invest cash windfalls (whether by inheritance, sale of a business, the lottery, etc.)

  • Children - there is a lot of information here on financial considerations upon having a child, including planning for college, making sure you're properly insured, and estate planning

  • Retirement - Schwab provides plenty of information and guidance both on saving for retirement as well as financial steps you should consider taking immediately upon retirement
When it comes to the nuts and bolts of investing, you have three choices at Schwab. The first is to do it yourself, while utilizing the tools and resources of the Schwab website and your own research and analysis. The second choice is to do it on your own, but occasionally schedule a one-on-one consultation to make sure you're on the right track or to get guidance on a particularly difficult issue (Schwab offers these both for free as well as on a fee basis.) Finally, if you think you would benefit from professional help, you can use the tools and resources of the Schwab website while receiving ongoing help from a Schwab financial professional.

Portfolio Evaluation
One set of tools that you might find valuable within the guidance channel are the portfolio evaluation tools. These allow you to look at your current portfolio in order to see what your asset allocation mix is and whether or not you're properly diversified. You can also use this to look at the gains and losses on individual securities or in in your portfolio as a whole, and to compare your performance versus various benchmarks (such as the S&P 500.)

SEE: 5 Tips For Diversifying Your Portfolio

Tools and Calculators
Schwab offers a variety of tools and calculators for functions such as screening for mutual funds or stocks, calculating how much money you need to save for retirement, and figuring out whether or not you can save money by refinancing your mortgage. A table with the main tools and their functions is below, and you can find more information on any of these functions on the Schwab website.

Figure 8 - Functions Available Under Schwab: Guidance: Tools & Calculators

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