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Investing

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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Schwab Lowers Account Minimums

by Luke Landes

This could be good news for anyone just starting out with investment accounts. Schwab lowered the minimum starting balance to $1,000 from $2,500 (or $2,000 for IRAs)and removed below-the-minimum fees for all their investment accounts as long as at least $100 is deposited into the account on a monthly basis. (Source: BusinessWeek.) I recently opened ... 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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Guest Post: The Case Against Gold

by Luke Landes

Lazy Man is a lazy man from California on a quest to retire early. He believes a penny saved is a penny earned, and a penny available for investing. He writes regularly on his blog, Lazy Man and Money My fiancee (Energi Gal) and I were watching Saturday Night Live a couple of weeks ago ... Continue reading this article…

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ShareBuilder Now Supports Quicken Direct Connect

by Luke Landes

I recently logged into my ShareBuilder [affiliate] account to check to see if there were any tax forms I needed to consider. I was greeted by a new message describing ShareBuilder’s new support for direct downloading of account data into Microsoft Money and Intuit Quicken. These days, with the fees that the software makers charge ... Continue reading this article…

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How Easy is it to Beat the Market?

by Luke Landes

On one hand, we have brokers, or salespeople, who sell financial products designed to put the most money in the hands of the people who manage and sell said products. On the other hand, we have financial advisors who swear that for long-term investing, index funds will provide the best and safest return. The brokers ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Withdraw Money from Upromise

by Luke Landes

Upromise is a loyalty rebate program which rewards its members by investing a percentage of purchases into accounts for education expenses, namely 529 College Savings Plans. Just register your credit cards and your supermarket membership cards and the different rebates are credited to your account to be invested at a later date. These rebates are ... Continue reading this article…

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Problems With TIAA-CREF Continue: One Reader’s Issue

by Luke Landes

My Roth IRA and SEP IRA are held at TIAA-CREF. I’ve had some problems with them in the past, which I’ve outlined a number of times. Most recently I noticed that my contributions for 2005 were included on my 2006 tax form. Their explanation was simply that 2005 contributions made during 2006 would appear on ... Continue reading this article…

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Is This a Buying Opportunity?

by Luke Landes

If I were a trader, I might look at yesterday’s drop as a buying opportunity for today, but with a long term view, it won’t change anything that I’m doing as far as investing this year. Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan thinks we’re heading for a recession this year. This is not long after ... Continue reading this article…

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Investing: Real Estate vs. Stock Market

by Luke Landes

Reminder: This week I am giving away a copy of The Maui Millionaires. There is still time left to enter the random drawing. It’s easy. The gurus tout real estate, real estate, real estate as the way to get rich. It’s perpetuated in the media, penetrating a number of people I know who generally speak ... Continue reading this article…

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US News Annual Investing Guide, Part 4: Technology

by Luke Landes

The biggest news in technology recently seems to be Apple‘s announcement of the iPhone (and they’re already getting sued by Cisco over the name) as well as Apple TV. Perhaps it will be an exciting year for the technology sector. David LaGesse reports that analysts are looking at short-term enthusiasm for technology, thanks to upgrades ... Continue reading this article…

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Question from Reader: What’s a Decent Rate of Return?

by Luke Landes

Frequent reader Doobie emailed yesterday to pose this question: What’s considered a decent rate of return for a stock/fund/etc? I always wondered that when I look at my 401K’s performance. I know it’s good when I’m not losing money, but even when it’s making money I’m trying to find a decent benchmark as to what’s ... Continue reading this article…

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US News Annual Investing Guide, Part 3: Oil

by Luke Landes

Every year, US News puts together an annual investing guide that evaluates certain sectors of the market. Marianne Lavelle writes about the recent and future performance of Big Oil, but there aren’t any revelations. According to the article, the easy money in oil was made in 2006, although there were signs of trouble. Here is ... Continue reading this article…

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US News Annual Investing Guide, Part 2: Drugs

by Luke Landes

A few years ago, it was common for people to leave my company in the financial industry for greener pastures in the pharmaceutical industry. Salaries were higher, bonuses were up, and people were making money off their stocks. Lately, this has cooled. US News & Word Report, in the annual investing guide, agrees: Drug patents ... Continue reading this article…

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