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Investing

Life After Salary: Saving for Retirement

by Luke Landes
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One of the benefits of earning income outside of a day job while not significantly increasing my expenses has been the ability to fully invest in a 401(k) plan. Assuming one can trust the chances of the stock market (and the financial industry) to produce impressive results over the long term, the 401(k) is the ... Continue reading this article…

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The Motley Fool Now Offering Mutual Funds

by Luke Landes

Don’t forget Consumerism Commentary is matching charitable contributions. Consumerism Commentary readers have donated $2,100 as of this morning, resulting in a total of $4,200 designated for charity including our matching contribution. Sign up and get your donation matched before December 11! About a decade ago, I first learned about no-load index mutual funds and, after ... Continue reading this article…

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Invest in Individual Stocks or Mutual Funds?

by Luke Landes

This is a guest article by Barbara Friedberg, editor-in-chief of Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance. Barbara holds an MBA in finance, a BS in economics, and an MS in counseling. In addition to writing, Barbara is a portfolio manager and a professor. “The business schools reward difficult complex behavior more than simple behavior, but simple behavior ... Continue reading this article…

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Your Opinion: Will You Buy GM Stock or Cars?

by Luke Landes

In April, I noted that General Motors repaid taxpayers for the company’s government-initiated bailout loans in full. There has been quite a discussion about this repayment, but the main points are that the loans accounted only for a small portion of the bailout, and one could consider that the loan repayment was possible only due ... Continue reading this article…

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Honda and Toyota Recalling 1,200,000 Vehicles

by Luke Landes

Honda just announced a major car recall due to faulty brake systems. The company is concerned that owners using brands of brake fluid other than Honda’s own may experience problems resulting in a fluid leak, degrading the brake system’s performance. This affects 470,000 Odysseys and Acura RLs, made from 2005 to 2007. A few days ... Continue reading this article…

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Brokers Are Salespeople, Share Your Story

by Luke Landes

Everyone has a responsibility to oneself and one’s family, first and foremost. It’s hard to blame brokers or anyone else who sells financial products to investors. The choices they make are designed to ensure their well-being, so when they convince an investor to direct money into a product, anyone who is interested in building his ... Continue reading this article…

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Convert to Vanguard Admiral Shares Now

by Luke Landes

Last week, Vanguard decided to offer its lower-cost, more exclusive Admiral Class of fund shares to more investors. For most Vanguard index funds, any customer with a balance of at least $10,000 can convert their investment from the standard Investor shares to Admiral shares. Most managed funds require a $50,000 minimum to qualify. Previously, investors ... Continue reading this article…

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Sue Your Broker When Your Investments Lose Value

by Luke Landes

I know Larry Hagman from watching re-runs of I Dream of Jeannie, but he’s apparently better known as the answer to the question, “Who played J.R.?”. Hagman’s now in the news, not because his next movie is in production, but because he has won $1.1 million plus legal fees in a suit against Citigroup. That’s ... Continue reading this article…

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Buying Gold: ETFs and Bullion

by Luke Landes

Over the past few weeks, the price of gold (expressed in dollars) has increased to all-time highs. This is true if you don’t adjust historical prices for inflation. This and the price increase that began for the recession have fueled a surge in interest in investing in gold. Investors are looking to ride this wave. ... Continue reading this article…

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OptionsHouse Online Discount Broker Review

by Luke Landes

If you take a look at our best online discount brokers page, you’ll notice that OptionsHouse leads the way as the cheapest broker to place a trade with online. While commission structure is a motivating factor in choosing an online discount broker, it shouldn’t be the only factor. Customer service, trading tools, fees and overall ... Continue reading this article…

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The Long-Term Prospects for Stocks: Game Over?

by Luke Landes

For as long as I’ve been paying attention, which admittedly is only the last ten or so years of my total thirty-four, personal finance experts have been extolling stocks as the best long-term investments. Over long periods of time they provide more growth than any other type of investment like bonds, with an expected rate ... Continue reading this article…

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Vanguard Expands Target Date Funds to Young Investors

by Luke Landes

Do you plan to retire in 2055? For some reason, that particular year strikes me as the distant future. It’s only 45 years from now — a year today’s 20-year-olds will be checking out of the cubicle and checking into active adult communities. Perhaps it’s because it’s one century after the year Dr. Brown had ... Continue reading this article…

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TD Ameritrade In Trouble For Misleading Investors

by Luke Landes

According to the Pennsylvania Securities Commission, brokers for TD Ameritrade misled investors in 2007 in order to sell a mutual fund, taking advantage of customers looking for higher returns. A certain mutual fund, the Reserve Yield Plus Fund, was sold as a high-rate investment to investors looking for a money market fund. The brokers allegedly ... Continue reading this article…

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P/E Ratios

by Luke Landes

I’m not a skilled investor, particularly when it comes to short-term prognostication, and my long-term track record has yet to be established considering my first investing decision was less than ten years ago. I don’t invest in many individual stocks. My 401(k) includes company stock as part of my employer’s matching contribution, and I opted ... Continue reading this article…

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SmartMoney’s Top 10 Discount Brokers

by Luke Landes

Discount brokers are everywhere. Not long ago, only a few companies offered the ability to trade stocks with low commissions. If you wanted to trade with a full-service brokerage, it might have cost $30 for each transaction. For this fee, you would talk with a broker assigned to your account, who would help you make ... Continue reading this article…

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Financial Services Companies Get Ready for Boomers

by Luke Landes

The Baby Boomer Generation consists of Americans born between about 1946 and about 1964. Many individuals in this generation are approaching the typical retirement age, as defined by the U.S. government’s tax and benefit policies. While some are delaying their retirement thanks in part to recent poor stock market performance, underfunded nest eggs, and the ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Invest $300,000 — Or Any Amount

by Luke Landes

Last week I wrote about lump sum investing vs. dollar-cost averaging, voicing the opinion that in most cases, if a lump sum is available, it’s a better choice in the long run. But how do you invest that lump sum? It’s great that the financial media has been encouraging young people to start thinking about ... Continue reading this article…

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Dollar-Cost Averaging

by Luke Landes

Is dollar-cost averaging (DCA) a sound investing strategy? In theory, dollar-cost averaging allows you to invest smaller portions of your money over a longer period of time, reducing the chance that you pay a price too high for any individual investment. If your ideal allocation calls for $50,000 to be invested in the stock market ... Continue reading this article…

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Qualifying for Vanguard’s Voyager Services

by Luke Landes

The more money you have, the more opportunities you have to save money. That is Vanguard‘s message. I’m not sure I agree with the philosophy from a consumer standpoint, but it is a way to reward loyal customers — generally customers who make the most money for the company. Yesterday I received a notification in ... Continue reading this article…

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Scottrade Discount Brokerage Review

by Luke Landes

This is a brief review of my experiences with the discount brokerage Scottrade. If you are interested, you can open an account at Scottrade here. I first opened my account with Scottrade a little over five years ago. At the time, my current discount brokerage, Wachovia, began charging an inactivity fee. They claimed I was ... Continue reading this article…

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