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Investing

Sold My Third Quarter Stock Purchase Plan Shares

by Luke Landes

I took some time this morning to apply for clearance to sell my company stock purchase plan shares. A recent question from a reader reminded me that I needed to do this before my opportunity would disappear for another few months. The sell was executed this morning, and I was able to get a good ... 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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Would You Buy Into Facebook’s IPO?

by Luke Landes

Yesterday, I wrote how I was a bad judge of Google’s initial stock valuation. Here’s a similar, but purely hypothetical situation. Suppose Facebook were to become a public company. As much as I hate to admit it, the social application and framework seems to be what all the kids are talking about these days, where ... Continue reading this article…

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Google, or: Why I’ll Never Be Good at Stock Predictions

by Luke Landes

When Google‘s stock was first offered, people were saying it would go to $200. I didn’t buy. I didn’t think there was any way the stock would get that high. When it hit $200, they were saying the target price was $300. No way, I thought. It hit $300, and they were talking about $400, ... 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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Sold My Second Quarter ESPP Shares

by Luke Landes

This year, I’ve been contributing 10 percent of my paycheck to my company’s new stock purchase plan. At the end of each quarter, that quarter’s contributions are used to purchase company stock at 15 percent off the lower of either the quarter’s beginning or ending price. I’m only allowed to trade company stock during certain windows of ... Continue reading this article…

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Low-Cost Index Mutual Funds Gaining Popularity

by Luke Landes

According to Jonathan Clements, index mutual funds with low fees are gaining popularity and attracting more investors who are trying to get the most for their money. This is driving more fund companies to lower their fees to compete. Fidelity, as mentioned in the article, has capped its index fund expenses at 0.1 percent. Suppose you ... 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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Ben Stein: Your Suggested Portfolio

by Luke Landes

Ben Stein is one of my favorite financial writers. I don’t always agree with his political views, but I usually find him to be grounded in reality in money matters. Also, he’s a pretty funny guy when he wants to be. Here is what he suggests for a typical working American’s portfolio distribution, from a ... Continue reading this article…

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Man Buys $8,000 Worth of Forever Stamps

by Luke Landes

Now that the U.S. Postal Service increased stamp prices and began offering the “forever stamp” last week, people can avoid the hassle of going back to the post office to buy “upgrade stamps” when the prices increase. The law that allows the forever stamp also indicates that the price increases will never beat inflation. That ... 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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Trading Window is Open and I’m Making Some Changes

by Luke Landes

On Monday, the trading window opens for employees at my company who are normally restricted from trading company stock. Here are the actions for which I’ve submitted my clearance forms and I’d like to do right away. * Sell one third of my company stock holdings in my 401(k) and reallocate that amount in a ... Continue reading this article…

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