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A Free Lunch for Investors

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman is generally credited with stating, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Actually, if you know what you are doing, you can get a free lunch in investing. Unfortunately, most investors get stuck with very expensive meals. Diversification is a free lunch Diversification is a free lunch. It basically refers…

Fama and Booth Weigh In On Brexit

When news of the Brexit vote broke, the financial media went into an overdrive of speculation bordering on hysteria. There was much talk about potentially devastating scenarios, including “turmoil“ to global markets. One investment “pro” counseled investors against buying stocks because “the Brexit selling is not over.” Read the rest of the article at The…

A Culture That Encourages Misconduct?

When I started writing books about a decade ago, I took the position that no one should rely on a broker for financial advice. My reasoning was simple. I had never met a broker who recommended a globally diversified portfolio consisting solely of low-management-fee index funds, exchange-traded funds or passively managed funds. It was my…

An IRA With No Fees and No Risk

According to a recent poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, two-thirds of Americans earning between $50,000 and $100,000 would find it difficult to come up with $1,000 to cover an emergency. For those earning less than $50,000 a year, that figure increases to 75 percent. A shocking 38 percent of…

All Fiduciaries Aren’t Created Equal

Robo-advisors have had a significant — and generally positive — impact on the financial services industry. The term typically refers to services that use models and algorithms to invest client portfolios, often in exchange-traded funds (ETFs). A benefit much touted by some of these services is that there’s no interaction with a human advisor. The…

A Stock Tip That Went Horribly Wrong

Of all the misinformation disseminated to investors, the most pernicious supports the belief that some “investment pro” or pundit has the skill to reliably pick outperforming stocks. This myth is perpetuated by endless blogs and television appearances by “gurus” touting their latest and greatest stock selections. A steady drumbeat Read the rest of the article…

Complexity Is the Investing Devil

What do the following investments have in common? Options Covered calls Collateralized mortgage obligations Non-traded REITs Master limited partnerships Variable annuities Equity-indexed annuities Hedge funds Principal protected notes Private equity Here’s the answer: They are all complex investments. As a result, assessing the risks involved with owning these investments can be challenging. They also generate…

The Three Biggest Investing Anomalies

There are many anomalies in investing. It wasn’t easy to isolate the three biggest ones, but here are my choices: 1. You love Warren Buffett, but ignore his advice. Warren Buffett has rightfully been called “the greatest investor of his generation, or ever.” Given his cult-like status, you’d think investors would hang on his every…

Rip-offs on a Massive Scale

Why settle for ruining the retirement dreams of one individual investor at a time when doing so on a massive scale is far more lucrative? That seems to be the strategy of some retirement plan sponsors, consultants, endowments and their advisors. The dire state of retirement funds An article in Zero Hedge describes this sordid…

A Bold Way to Pick ‘Winners’

It’s a mystery to me why so many investors pay brokers to pick “winning” mutual funds. But they do, and it turns out that they aren’t alone in this often fruitless quest. Pension funds pay obscene fees to “consultants” who claim the ability to select outperforming mutual funds or other types of investments. A flawed…

It’s Still Open Season on Retirement Plan Participants

Don’t get me wrong. I believe the new fiduciary rule recently announced by the Department of Labor (DOL) will be a net plus for retirement plan participants. The rule expands the definition of “fiduciary investment advice” and requires all financial professionals (a ubiquitous term that encompasses registered investment advisors, brokers and insurance company representatives) to…

Don’t Be a ‘Low-Information’ Investor

There’s a lot of talk in the media about “low-information” voters. Ted Cruz may be responsible for coining the term. He referred to supporters of Donald Trump as those “who have relatively low information, who are not that engaged and who are angry.” He observed that other candidates are beating Trump “when voters get more…

You’re No Match for Wall Street

Wall Street has an alarming number of shady practices geared to transfer your money to itself. Main Street investors are outgunned and ill-equipped to deal with its chicanery. Conflicts of interest abound There’s a reason Wall Street doesn’t want to be legally obligated to put your interests above its own. Brokers can (and often do)…

A Plan to Stop the Pension Plan Rip-Off

It’s small consolation that your broker is only harming one client at a time by claiming the ability to “beat the market.” Recommending actively managed funds, private equity, individual stocks and alternative investments is the tried-and-true Wall Street way of transferring wealth from you to them. The zero-sum game If you need more convincing, I…

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