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Investing

The Trouble With Target Date Funds

by J.J.

Over the next couple of weeks, six finalists will be auditioning for the opening of “staff writer” at Consumerism Commentary. Each will be providing two guest articles to share with readers. After the six writers have shared their guest articles, readers will have an opportunity to provide feedback before we select the staff writer. This ... Continue reading this article…

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Should Target Date Funds Be Standardized?

by Luke Landes

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) is setting up a new division to oversee new financial products, and this group is starting with target date funds. These are mutual funds usually taking the form of baskets of other mutual funds, designed to target a certain year of retirement. As the year approaches, the fund automatically ... Continue reading this article…

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$50 Bonus for New Prosper Lenders

by Luke Landes

Peer-to-peer lending institution Prosper is offering a $50 bonus for new lenders who sign up for for the service and bid on two loans. Peer-to-peer lending is an interesting way for people to qualify for loans and to lend money to others. In an economy where savings account interest rates are under 3 percent or 2 percent, ... Continue reading this article…

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How is Your 401(k) Retirement Account Performing?

by Luke Landes

I’ve been investing in a 401(k) retirement account since I joined the ranks of the corporate employed seven years ago. I started with a small percentage of my income, just enough to take advantage of the full company match. As my income increased, I diverted a larger percentage to the 401(k) with the hopes of ... Continue reading this article…

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Three Detailed Income Strategies for Retirement

by Luke Landes

Earlier this week, I reviewed common financial rules of thumb and offered a quick evaluation of how each rule would likely perform if accepted by an individual as the final word. One of these was the rule that convinces retirees they will be financially secure if they withdraw 4 percent of their nest egg for income ... Continue reading this article…

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5 Reasons to Take Another Look at DRIPs

by Clare

This is a guest article written by Clare, the founder of MoneyEnergy, where she writes about international dividend investing, DRIPs, and increasing your cashflow. If you like this post, consider subscribing to her RSS feed to get others like it in your reader. DRIPs (dividend reinvestment plans) were fairly popular back in the 1980s I ... Continue reading this article…

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Zecco Trading Offering 20 Free Stock Trades

by Luke Landes

I do very little stock trading. In fact, the only individual stocks I hold are Microsoft (MSFT) and Akamai (AKAM), both of which I purchased with free money for opening a brokerage account. Naturally, I think free cash is a perfect candidate for experimentation with the stock market and I most likely would not have ... Continue reading this article…

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Employee Stock Purchase Plan Dilemma

by Luke Landes

For the last few years, I have been participating in my company’s stock purchase plan at the maximum level. Every paycheck, ten percent of my gross salary is withheld. At the end of each quarter the funds are used to buy my company’s stock at a 15 percent discount from the lower price of either ... Continue reading this article…

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Roth IRA Conversion

by Luke Landes

The option to convert a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA has been around for a while. Here are the differences between a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA for those new to these retirement accounts. As long as your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is under $100,000 you have qualified for this conversion. Contributions ... Continue reading this article…

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Kiplinger’s Best 529 College Savings Plans

by Luke Landes

Although I do not have children, I am considering starting to save for college. With the cost of tuition rising well above levels of inflation, the sooner I get started, even before any children exist, the higher the chance my child or children will be able to go to school without an insurmountable pile of ... Continue reading this article…

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American Companies May Want to Trade on Shanghai Stock Exchange

by Luke Landes

There is some speculation that Coca-Cola, General Electric, and Wal-Mart are seeking to raise capital by offering stock… in China. The companies have not responded to these rumors, but China seems open to allowing western companies to participate in the country’s stock exchanges once trading resumes. If American companies want to be on the Shanghai ... Continue reading this article…

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Smithee’s First Stock Sale

by Smithee

Well, I sold my first stock. I agonized over when would be the right time, but then I just pulled the trigger, anyway. Earlier this year, I started using the “free money” I was getting from this credit card to buy some stocks. In March, we paid our tax bill of over $3,300 using that ... Continue reading this article…

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How Much of Your Portfolio Should Be in Stocks When You Enter Retirement?

by Luke Landes

March 9, 2009 was a bad day to retire. On that day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit its bottom of 6,547, a low not seen since 1997. If you followed mass-market retirement investing advice, you may have entered retirement with a portfolio 100 percent invested in a stock market index, like the S&P 500, whose ... Continue reading this article…

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Personal Finance Advice: One Size Does Not Fit All

by Luke Landes

It is human nature to search for Truths that describe the world we live in. This is one reason why personal finance gurus are so popular amongst a group of individuals that listens. Many of the more popular authors, seminar leaders, and cult favorites stick by their mantras, Grand Unifying Theories, such as “credit cards ... Continue reading this article…

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Compare Your Company’s 401(k) Retirement Plan

by Luke Landes

While researching companies for possible career moves — an occasional hobby of mine before all of my extracurricular time was spent working on Consumerism Commentary — it has been difficult to find reliable information about one of the biggest benefits companies can offer, the 401(k) retirement plan. As an outsider to the company, you cannot ... Continue reading this article…

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Market Timing: You’re Doing it Wrong

by Luke Landes

A recent question-and-answer article from Money Magazine illustrates the problem with timing the market. While making money in the stock market is as “simple” as buying low and selling high, emotional reactions to the market often prevent that from being a feasible strategy. The question comes from an individual close to retirement, Heidi. She lost ... Continue reading this article…

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Schwab Brokerage Lowers Expense Ratios, Beats Vanguard

by Luke Landes

Here is some good news for investors. Schwab, competing for investment business with other low-cost mutual fund operations like Vanguard, Fidelity, and TIAA-Cref, has lowered the expenses on a number of their mutual funds. The Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund (SWPIX), which competes directly with the Vanguard S&P 500 Index Funds (VFINX), now sports a ... Continue reading this article…

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When Large Institutions Hoard Cash, Start Investing

by Luke Landes

Rather than lending and investing, banks are holding onto large amounts of cash. For large companies, particularly companies whose stocks trade publicly, now is a good time to keep cash on hand for excess liquidity and to look strong for investors and analysts. The liquidity allows the bank to be ready to strike when they ... Continue reading this article…

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Reader Question: How Can My Money Earn More for Me?

by Luke Landes

A reader and friend is looking for some basic financial advice. It just so happens that April is National Financial Literacy Month, so the timing is perfect because I am in a sharing mood. I get to share his situation and my suggestions with Consumerism Commentary readers, and readers have the option of offering their ... Continue reading this article…

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Has the Economic Collapse Changed the Rules of Investing?

by Luke Landes

Money Magazine published an article with the “7 new rules of financial security,” claiming that the recent economic collapse has changed the fundamentals that investors have relied upon for decades. The simultaneous meltdown of the stock, housing and credit markets resulted in a world in which investors must adjust their assumptions in order to succeed. ... Continue reading this article…

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