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Investing

The Benefits of Target Retirement Funds

by Guest Author

About the author: The following is a guest article written by Kevin from No Debt Plan. He writes to help readers eliminate debt, learn how to budget and save, and move themselves towards financial freedom. The first investment we made in one of our Roth IRAs was in a Vanguard Target Retirement fund. Generally target ... Continue reading this article…

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Fidelity and Vanguard Creating Investments to Compete With Annuities

by Luke Landes

Fidelity and Vanguard, monsters in the world of mutual funds, are busy creating new products catering to the vast number of baby-boomers approaching retirement. These products are designed to compete with annuities, insurance products with guaranteed income, but are investments products so they offer no guarantees. Like target retirement funds, the asset allocation of these ... Continue reading this article…

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Target Retirement Funds (Also Known As Lifecycle Funds)

by Luke Landes

Target retirement funds are increasing in popularity. The funds, and they may be called “lifecycle funds” or “target date funds” or “age-based funds” or a variety of other terms are mutual funds comprising other mutual funds. The allocation percentages of the constituent mutual funds change as time progresses, theoretically becoming more conservative as you approach ... Continue reading this article…

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New $25 Bonus Promotion Code for ShareBuilder Accounts

by Luke Landes

Updated June 24, 2010. Last month, I praised ShareBuilder for its low fees in a list of the best true discount brokerages. In the past, ShareBuilder has offered free money in the form of account opening bonuses to attract new customers, but these promotions have been missing since ING Direct purchased the brokerage. ShareBuilder has ... Continue reading this article…

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Make Investment Decisions Together to Avoid These Common Mistakes

by Guest Author

About the author: This is a guest article written by Dorian Wales, a 30-year-old economist with an MBA in finance. Dorian writes frequently on his own blog, The Personal Financier. Most common investment mistakes are deeply rooted in psychology. Many of these mistakes can be avoided by allowing another person to take part in the ... Continue reading this article…

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Thinking Will Cause Your Investments to Lose

by Luke Landes

Behavioral economics, a mix of psychology and finance, is an interesting field, and has taught those who choose to listen why they’re less likely to benefit from thinking they can predict the performance of a stock price. The human brain is simply not wired to make good choices in the stock market. Traders will lose ... Continue reading this article…

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Best Online Discount Brokers, November 2011

by Luke Landes

Unlike long-term investing for the future, active stock trading has qualities in common with gambling. On top of that, it’s expensive gambling. When you step up to a quarter slot machine, you know each bet will cost a quarter. You don’t lose a nickel on each spin as a “transaction fee.” In order to play ... Continue reading this article…

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The Only 7 Investments You Need

by Luke Landes

Money Magazine is recommending that those wishing to build their net worth over a long period of time simplify matters by putting all their eggs into seven baskets in the form of mutual funds. 1. Fidelity Spartan 500 Index (FSMKX). This fund’s total expense ratio is a minuscule 0.10 percent. It tracks the S&P 500 index. ... Continue reading this article…

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Fortune Magazine’s Best Stocks for 2008: Last December’s Prediction

by Luke Landes

This should prove to be a good study of professional prognostication. Last December, Fortune Magazine predicted the best stocks to hold in 2008, directing investors to ten specific stocks the magazine thinks will perform well this year. How are these stocks holding up so far, compared to the indexes? The S&P 500 Index is down ... Continue reading this article…

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Lies Annuity Salesmen Tell: A Dateline Undercover Investigation

by Luke Landes

Last year, a reader wrote into Consumerism Commentary with a story about how her elderly father was convinced to buy a variable annuity, locking away his money until after his likely passing. He had wanted to talk to a financial adviser, but found his way to Banc of America Investment Services. Recently, Dateline took a ... Continue reading this article…

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Many Exchange-Traded Funds are Not All They’re Cracked Up to Be

by Luke Landes

I own shares in one exchange-traded fund, iShares Dow Jones U.S. Telecommunications Sector Index Fund (IYZ). I picked up the shares with free money from a Sharebuilder bonus, and since it was free money, I decided to attempt to choose an investment narrower than my typical investing philosophy would normally allow. Rather than a broad ... Continue reading this article…

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My First Quarter 401(k) Results Are In

by Luke Landes

Here is a case study in why you shouldn’t fret over the details in an account that’s designed to keep funds invested for the long term. I would probably stay saner if I wait three decades before looking at my 401(k) account again. I received my retirement account statement in the mail today. This is ... Continue reading this article…

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Thrasher Funds’ GendeX Mutual Fund: You Know, For Kids

by Luke Landes

Do investment companies need to market to “Generation X” and “Generation Y” differently than the general investing public? Would new, “hip” investment products encourage individuals falling within these particular demographics to care about their financial future? Thrasher Capital Management was founded on the principle that these markets, as well as minorities, are currently under served ... Continue reading this article…

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8 Benefits to a Recession or Down Market

by Luke Landes

Will politicians say the word recession? Not if they’re serious about helping their party get elected. Yet, it feels like we are in a recession — or at least, that’s what the media wants us to believe. The stock market, measured by the indexes, is certainly in a downward trend, but I suppose I agree ... Continue reading this article…

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Get Rid of Your High-Cost Variable Annuity Easily

by Luke Landes

Although Ben Stein likes variable annuities, these insurance products can be an expensive way of investing. They do “assure” a level of income over a certain time period, but depending on where you go to receive this product, you could be paying too much for a service that can be found somewhere else for less. ... Continue reading this article…

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The End of Bull Markets: Don’t Expect Great Returns Over the Long Term

by Luke Landes

Ever since I’ve been investing, nigh on six years now, the general sentiment has been that stocks are the key to long-term growth. Investing in the stock market is risky, but bumps even out over long periods of time resulting in close to double-digit annual growth. Young people like myself (six years ago) should invest ... Continue reading this article…

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Ben Stein’s Parents are Well-Off Thanks to Variable Annuities

by Luke Landes

Should you get a variable annuity when you retire? The company I work for hopes you will, but many financial advisers, gurus, and authors steer people away. The reason is simple — the benefits in the form of gains don’t outweigh the fees and diligent investors can manage their retirement money in the form of ... Continue reading this article…

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States Plan On Shutting Down Small 529 College Savings Plans

by Luke Landes

Are state-run 529 plans — investment accounts that offer tax benefits for saving for educational expenses but with penalties otherwise — worthwhile? I haven’t made up my mind yet. But some investors may be wishing they had chosen other investments. Some 529 plans are being closed because the states are finding them too expensive to ... Continue reading this article…

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Increased 401(k) Contribution Rate

by Luke Landes

Today I increased my 401(k) contribution, a move which will bring me significantly closer to my goal for investing up to the limit allowed by the government in 2008 ($15,500). My 401(k) account is split into three portions: my before-tax contributions, my Roth contributions which are after tax, and my company’s employer matching contributions, which ... Continue reading this article…

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How Do Finance Professors Invest?

by Luke Landes

A researcher at Central Michigan University surveyed 600 finance professors at major universities to determine their investment philosophies, practices, and the differerences between the two. You would think that those involved in higher education, teaching about market analysis, options and futures, and discounted cash flow analysis, would use these techniques when handling their own investments. ... Continue reading this article…

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