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Investing

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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How to Qualify for Vanguard Admiral Shares

by Luke Landes

Note: Vanguard has recently changed the qualification requirements for Admiral shares. Most index funds now require only a $10,000 balance while most managed funds require only $50,000. Both required minimums are down from $100,000 previously. Whether right or wrong, having more money opens more doors and opportunities. Just look at the way casino hotels operate. ... Continue reading this article…

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Three of the Largest Closed Hedge Funds are “Madoff Feeder Funds”

by Luke Landes

Last year, hundreds of hedge funds, special mutual funds generally open to wealthy investors which specialize in alternative investments like derivatives, shut down due to the economic crisis. Three of the ten largest hedge funds to close were funds that invested exclusively or almost exclusively in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, leaving investors with nothing. While ... Continue reading this article…

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Investors in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme

by Luke Landes

Bernard Madoff is on his way to jail, having plead guilty to defrauding investors in a massive Ponzi scheme. While his victims thought they were investing with a legitimate manager, Madoff simply deposited clients’ money in a Chase Manhattan bank account and paid “returns” to earlier investors from the contributions of newer investors. The bulk ... Continue reading this article…

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Traditional vs. Roth IRA: An Introduction and Comparison

by Luke Landes

The Individual Retirement Account (IRA) allows anyone who earns income the opportunity to save for retirement, regardless of the plans offered by his or her employer. An IRA is not an investment in itself, it’s an account type. Within the IRA, you can keep your money for the future in money market funds, CDs, stocks, ... Continue reading this article…

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Some Money Market Funds are Insured

by Luke Landes

Through December 31, 2009, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures bank deposit accounts up to $250,000, with the limits returning to $100,000 after that. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit. There are a few nuances to this coverage, so ensure you know the full details of FDIC ... Continue reading this article…

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My First Stock Purchase

by Smithee

So, I got this credit card that deposits 2 percent cash back into a brokerage account. I started using it for all my daily purchases, paying off the statement balance each month. At the end of January, my points on the card were redeemed for the first time, and a few impatient days later, I had ... Continue reading this article…

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E*TRADE Eliminating Index Funds

by Luke Landes

E*TRADE has decided to discontinue its collection of index mutual funds. If you hold shares of ETSPX (S&P 500 index fund), ETRUX (Russell 2000 index fund), ETTIX (technology sector index fund), or ETINX (international index fund), E*TRADE or your broker will automatically sell your shares by March 27, 2009. Even though index funds are likely ... Continue reading this article…

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The Paradox of “Buy Low, Sell High”

by Luke Landes

If everyone could “buy low and sell high” when making investment decisions, everyone would be a successful investor. I would never give this advice to anyone. First, it is obvious to anyone who understands basic arithmetic. If you want to make money, you have to sell something for more than you paid for it. This ... Continue reading this article…

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Is “Buy and Hold” Still a Good Investing Strategy?

by Luke Landes

From the time I started investing for the long term, almost all the advice I’ve read has pointed towards buying stocks (usually in the form of index mutual funds) and holding them for decades, rather than following trends in the news and trying to buy and sell stocks frequently. The reasons for this strategy were ... Continue reading this article…

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ETFs or Index Funds: Which are Right for You?

by Luke Landes

About the author: This guest article is presented by ABCs of Investing, a new website for novice investors which offers two short and simple investing posts each week. Feel free to subscribe the the RSS feed. With last year’s market meltdown affecting both managed mutual funds as well as their low-cost counterparts index funds and ... Continue reading this article…

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