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Investing

Problems With TIAA-Cref

by Luke Landes

Apparently I was not the only person having problems with TIAA-Cref. When I contacted the company to report my missing contribution, the customer service representative was very helpful and assured me the account would be adjusted. I had complete confidence, and when I checked my account yesterday, the deposit had been made and backdated. My ... Continue reading this article…

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Articles In The News

by Luke Landes

There are some interesting items in the news today, but not much that is inspiring me to write about the stories in detail. Here is what I’ve been reading. * How to Sell a Car When You Owe More Than It’s Worth. This is a dangerous position to be in. * Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best ... Continue reading this article…

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Merrill Lynch Broker Allegedly Steals $320,000

by Luke Landes

A broker from Merrill Lynch allegedly stole more than $320,000 from an elderly woman by forging her signature. Peter Lau, 37, who was the victim’s broker, stole some 28 checks from the victim and forged her signature before depositing them for his own use from June 2004 to December 2005, Brown said in a prepared ... Continue reading this article…

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My Retirement Investment Changes

by Luke Landes

Based partly on feedback when I listed my investment holdings, I made some changes to my retirement contributions for 2006. In my 401(k), I shifted around my percentage allocations to increase international and small-cap exposure at the expense of large-caps, which are currently overweighted. In the Roth IRA, I’ll be investing in a small-cap equity ... Continue reading this article…

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Stocks Are For Suckers?

by Luke Landes

The book I recently reviewed focuses on investing in index funds and letting the portfolio sit for decades — “buy and hold.” It’s a strategy that has been popular since the market took a downward spin when the tech bubble gave out. Not everyone agrees that it’s the best strategy. Mark Cuban, outspoken owner of ... Continue reading this article…

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CNN Money Redesigns

by Luke Landes

Fresh for the new year, CNN Money redesigned. The new layout is cleaner, but some of the deeper pages have some placement issues.

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My Investment Holdings

by Luke Landes

I was wondering how my investments were doing this year, so I whipped up a table. It appears my managed funds have generally outperformed my index fund. Some notes: * My 401(k) was recently rebalanced (it’s automatic on a quarterly basis). * The YTD Return is annualized based on either the most recent information or ... Continue reading this article…

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Reading Company Income Statements

by Luke Landes

Every month, I post my personal income statement (here’s November’s). I break down my income and expenses in each category and show how they’ve increased or decreased over the last few months. This helps me (and any readers) get a good sense of my financial well-being. The Motley Fool offers an introduction to company income ... Continue reading this article…

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More Stuff From Kiyosaki

by Luke Landes

I saw Yahoo Finance posted a new column from Robert Kiyosaki today. With an open mind, I decided to read it, thinking perhaps he has something positive to say. I wasn’t planning on commenting about the article until I read the third and fourth paragraphs. He’s trying so hard to sell his point of view ... Continue reading this article…

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Efficient and Frugal Food Shopping

by Luke Landes

This is an area in which I hope to make vast improvements in 2006: my eating, cooking and food shopping habits. At the end of the year, I’ll evaluate how much money I’ve spent on food this year. I already have a good idea of the amount based on my latest income statement (dining plus ... Continue reading this article…

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2005′s Strongest Stock

by Luke Landes

NutriSystem [NTRI] climbed 1,500 percent this year. That’s an amazing climb. I expect that it would be impossible to keep that momentum up, but if you happened to buy NutriSystem at the beginning of the year, you’d be a happy person now. NutriSystem’s customer base is huge. Also, there are many of these customers, as the ... Continue reading this article…

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HOWTO Retire Rich Without Much Effort

by Luke Landes

Walter Updegrave from Money Magazine shares the secret to retiring rich: Increase your savings. According to a study by Putnam Investments, your investment performance has less to do with how good you are at picking stocks and more to do with how much money you invest. In other words, saving more leads to, well, more ... Continue reading this article…

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Ben Stein Wears A Small Cap

by Luke Landes

In Ben Stein’s column this week, he offers ideas for smartly investing in small caps, which have outperformed the broader market. The article makes me want to buy $1,500 of iShares S&P Smallcap 600 Value [IJS] right now through ShareBuilder and hold onto the investment as long as possible. In the article Ben talks about ... Continue reading this article…

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A Hedge-Like Fund For The Rest Of Us

by Luke Landes

Amanda Cantrell from CNN Money evaluates the performance of mutual funds that act like hedge funds. Is their performance worth the expense? Here are the details of the four funds the author evaluated: Fund Exp Ratio Sales Chg YTD Rtn The Gateway Fund [GATEX] 0.97 percent   4.52 percent Diamond Hill Focus Long/Short [DIAMX] 1.75 percent 5.00 percent 12.12 percent ... Continue reading this article…

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Making The Most Of The Holidays

by Luke Landes

The holiday shopping season is in high gear, and Marketwatch has an idea about how this can be used to your advantage. If you think that retail will have a positive season, John Spence recommends buying ETFs (exchange-traded funds) that follow the retail sector. They can be traded like stocks for those who like to ... Continue reading this article…

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Diversification is for Amateurs

by Luke Landes

Kiyosaki’s rich dad told him not to diversify — rather, seek out “the best” investments. The author attempts to use anecdotal evidence (“I knew a guy who… therefore everyone…”) to villify the financial planning industry. Suddenly, people without much financial education became “professional financial advisors.” School teachers, used car salesmen, housewives, and insurance agents found ... Continue reading this article…

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Reading Materials

by Luke Landes

Here are some articles worth the look. * Jeff Brown from the Philadelphia Inquirer calls for an end to quarterly guidance. * Four ways to simplify your life and save from MSN Money. * Just when you thought real estate in New York City was getting a little pricey, now you have to worry about ... Continue reading this article…

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Don’t Stress About Investing

by Luke Landes

Kiplinger’s presents four mantras for stress-free investing. If you’ve been feeling nervous about the stock market lately, perhaps considering these ideas will put you in a relaxed state of mind. 1. Think Long Term The longer you have until your savings deadline, the more risk you can afford to take. If your goals are decades ... Continue reading this article…

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Fewer Women in Hedge Funds

by Luke Landes

Fortune Magazine has an article exploring why we don’t see women managing hedge funds. The proportion on women to men is much lower in the hedge fund business than it is in other areas of market finance. People cite many different explanations, including fewer women with MBAs, fewer women willing to make the jump to ... Continue reading this article…

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Fight The Allure of Low Prices

by Luke Landes

The advice I hear most often is to stay away from high-priced mutual funds and go for the low cost index funds instead. The logic behind this is that you pay for fund management with no guarantee that the fund will beat its index. Extending this logic, one might think it would make sense to ... Continue reading this article…

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