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Investing

My 2007 401(k) Performance and Blog Roundup

by Luke Landes

Yesterday, I received my final 2007 401(k) statement in the mail. According to their records, my account’s performance in the fourth quarter last year was down 3.50 percent while my performance for the entire year was up 7.09 percent. That’s a bit of a let-down from 2006, when my 401(k) performance was a strong positive 16.25 percent. It ... Continue reading this article…

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Teaching Children Practical Money Lessons: Investing

by Luke Landes

Last week, I wrote about a family that has a hard time saying no to the children when it comes to fulfilling the kids’ material desires. There were a number of suggestions in the article and the discussion on Consumerism Commentary with thoughts about how such a family could impart healthier financial values. A recent ... Continue reading this article…

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2007: The End of TIAA-Cref for My Investments

by Luke Landes

At the end of the year, I will be ceasing my investment in TIAA-Cref funds for retirement. There are less expensive options at Vanguard, and TIAA-Cref’s customer service record has been spotty. I haven’t had any problems lately, but other people still face difficulties. My original post about my problems with TIAA-Cref from almost two ... Continue reading this article…

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Time to Run and Hide From Stocks?

by Luke Landes

The stock market has certainly been all over the place lately. A few people have told me that the constant chatter about impending doom is pushing them towards pulling out or re-allocating their investments to expose themselves less to stocks. If I can stomach short-term losses like I think I can, I intend on using ... Continue reading this article…

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Ben Stein: 3 Biggest Retirement Mistakes

by Luke Landes

Ben Stein has been making the rounds through the media in support of National Retirement Planning Week, a celebration of preparedness. He recently met with Terri Cullen from the Wall Street Journal and sat down for a quick interview. Ben shared his opinion regarding the three biggest mistakes people often make in regards to the ... Continue reading this article…

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Investigation: Russ Whitney Should Resign as CEO and Chairman

by Luke Landes

For those who follow real estate investing gurus, it might be interesting to note that Russ Whitney’s company, through an internal investigation, is calling for the founder’s resignation. Russ Whitney, the founder, chief executive officer, and chairman of the Whitney Information Network has in the past aligned himself with Robert Kiyosaki (of Rich Dad, Poor ... Continue reading this article…

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Pros and Cons Of New 401(k) Auto-Enrollment Rules

by Luke Landes

Employees who do not specifically choose to do anything with the retirement plans offered by their employer are being targeted by the Labor Department. Under new rules, individuals who do not make their own choice will be automatically placed into 401(k) plans in which their investments will be allocated in a mix of stocks and ... Continue reading this article…

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Reader Question: Forgo ESPP Share Discount?

by Luke Landes

JBW submitted a question to Consumerism Commentary alongside an earlier discussion of my own Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) shares and I’d like to highlight the question here. I’m currently trying to decide what to do in terms of my employer’s ESPP. The discount is 10 percent and stock is bought on a monthly basis (the ... Continue reading this article…

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Debunking 13 Retirement Myths, Part 1

by Luke Landes

Money Magazine is on the scene again, spreading the truth about retirement, contrary to some popular beliefs. Within, these is some good news alongside bad news. Here are the highlights. Myth #1: You need a big income to have a big nest egg. Some creativity can go a long way. By finding ways to save ... Continue reading this article…

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Guest Post: The Weak Dollar is Killing Americans’ Wealth

by Luke Landes

This is a guest post from Pinyo, author of Moolanomy, a personal finance blog about money, wealth, investing, and more. Subscribe to Moolanomy’s RSS feed here. In this article, Pinyo’s excitement about his net worth increase is tempered by the declining value of the dollar. I just completed my September net worth review and noticed ... Continue reading this article…

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Fund Companies Trying to Attract Younger Investors

by Luke Landes

A couple of brokerages and fund companies are courting younger workers just getting their feet wet with outside-of-401(k) investing. They’re lowering the barriers to entry in the form of minimum fund investments. * Charles Schwab lowered the minimum from $2,000 or $2,500 to $100. * American Century Investments established new funds with $500 minimums for ... Continue reading this article…

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Ben Stein: Invest or Pay Off Mortgage?

by Luke Landes

This is an age-old question. Does it make more financial sense to pay off your mortgage quicker by increasing or adding payments, or to use that extra money and invest in an index fund in the stock market? The simple answer is to choose the option that leaves you with the most money down the ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Make Money With John Adams Presidential Dollar Coins

by Luke Landes

Whenever the US Mint comes up with a new concept for circulating coins, it inspires a new bunch of collectors and investors. That has certainly happened with the Presidential Dollar Series, which began earlier this year. First impressions of the George Washington $1 coins were luke warm, but then collectors started discovering errors. In some ... Continue reading this article…

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Where to Put an Unexpected $5,000, Part 3

by Luke Landes

If you’ve been lucky enough to come across $5,000 for which you haven’t been planning, you may be wondering what the best plan would be. Considering CNN has 43 suggestions for you, there are many options. I’ve had some thoughts on CNN’s list which I’ve shared so far here and here. Here is the next ... Continue reading this article…

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Where to Put an Unexpected $5,000, Part 2

by Luke Landes

CNN Money has 43 suggestions for those who come upon an unexpected $5,000 based on the market right now. I didn’t particularly agree with each suggestion I’ve looked at so far. Let’s see how CNN Money does with the next batch of suggestions. 8. Best reality check: Eight hours with a financial planner 9. Best ... Continue reading this article…

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Where to Put an Unexpected $5,000, Part 1

by Luke Landes

Unfortunately, I don’t have this particular “problem” at the moment. But if I had, CNN Money can provide some suggestions (43 of them) for dealing with the unexpected income. 1. Best return with no risk: Pay off your highest-interest credit card debt 2. Best 12-month return (risky): Vanguard Growth Index fund 3. Best 12-month return ... Continue reading this article…

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Comparing a Lump Sum With an Annuity

by Luke Landes

Every since I wrote about the variable annuity sold to an 86-year-old, I’ve been trying to come up with some sort of situation in which this makes sense. Actually, I haven’t been putting effort into this issue at all, but this article from Charles Schwab happened to appear at the right time. Inside is a ... Continue reading this article…

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Ethical? Bank of America Sells Variable Annuity to Elderly Person

by Luke Landes

I find these stories very sad. First of all, it’s always the customer’s job to be educated about any options they might be considering — particularly when they’re shopping around for financial products. When a customer isn’t educated for whatever reason, it doesn’t provide justification for salespeople to suggest products not in their best interest. ... Continue reading this article…

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John Bogle and Jeremy Siegel Debate Index Funds

by Luke Landes

John Bogle founded Vanguard and the index fund movement. Put simply, cost-conscious modern financial advice is to buy index funds, which track the performance of a large selection of stocks usually grouped by market cap, and hold on to them for a long time as they appreciate over time. This theory is based in part ... Continue reading this article…

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Not All Target Retirement Funds Are Created Equal

by Luke Landes

Over the last few years, “target” retirement funds have become more popular. Vanguard offers a wide selection for those looking to retire between 2005 and 2050 in 5-year increments. Fidelity offers the same options with their “Freedom Funds.” One would think that the Fidelity Freedom 2020 Fund should be similar to the Vanguard Target Retirement ... Continue reading this article…

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