The Securities and Exchange Commission is Above the Law

Following up on a theme we’ve discussed before about certain people having access to trading options that you—the retail investor—do not, we figured we’d talk today about the Securities and Exchange Commission and its approved practice of insider trading among its employees.

You see, at the SEC, insider trading is not only allowed; it’s required.

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401k’s Aren’t the only Retirement Plan that can Leave you High and Dry

Arent the only Retirement Plan that can Leave you High and Dry

We’ve definitely not shown a lot of love and admiration for the old 401k Plan around here. While  there may be circumstances where contributions to a 401k make sense (though relatively few circumstances) we would be remiss not to point out that 401k’s and their sister products (e.g. 403b’s, 457’s, etc.) aren’t the only wholesale retirement product that can let you down.

No, I’m afraid one of the most respected retirement vehicles that many would love to see gain a resurgence in the employee benefits market place can also be just as disappointing for a number of reasons. I’m talking, of course, about traditional pension plans.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average: 8% per Year?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

While there is no doubting the last couple of years have been really great years for the stock market (if you think of it in terms of the growth over the year, rather than growth from many years past), but we’d like to take a moment and think of things a tad longer term.

But keeping with our traditional habit of raining on parades, we wanted to take a moment to point out that not all that glitters is necessarily gold. We’ve talked before about where the Dow Jones Industrial Average would need to be in order to have achieved an 8% per year rate of return since 2000, and figured it was about time that we updated those numbers.

The answer:

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Ted Benna: The 401(K) Giveth and Taketh away

The 401(K) Giveth and Taketh away

By all accounts Ted Benna should be heralded as an American hero. But I’m willing to bet most of you have never heard the name. Ted is credited as being the guy who created a financial tool that reformed personal finance throughout the last three decades and made more Americans members of the stock investing society than any other financial tool ever created.

However, Ted is rather ho hum about his creation these days. Noting that it’s largely an unwieldy beast that has taken a form he never intended, and the only way to fix it—in his eyes—is to blow it up and start over again with something completely different.

And what was it that Mr. Benna created that has veered so hopelessly off track that it cannot be repaired?

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Can we Please Stop Pretending that Market Corrections are Unusual and Rare?

Can we Please Stop Pretending that Market Corrections are Unusual and Rare

Stock Market Corrections are a fact of life in a our economy. There are several theories that seek to explain this phenomenon, and I personally like to think it’s a result of our warped implementation of market economics, but what do I know?

Lately certain members of the press have been buzzing a bit about the stock market and whether or not it’s headed for a decline. Will 2014 be the year to kiss your post 2008 gains good bye?


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Why Your Rate of Return is always Different

Why Your Rate of Return is always Different

Most of us have seen the marketing brochures distributed by mutual fund companies and investment products salespeople as an inducement to place our money in a fund. At the very least, we’ve encountered historical returns posted within a 401k plan that some people use to help select where they place their money.

But have you ever noticed that when you look at the historical return data, your rate of return seems to magically be different? What gives? Some might explain this as entry and exit variances that alter the yield vs. the calendar year assumptions put in place on the historical data and to some degree this is true. But the real answer to this lies a little deeper and has to do with a little slight of hand, and some simple mathematics.

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Exotic Investment Schemes are NOT Always Better

Exotic Investment Schemes are NOT Always Better

Have you ever met someone who has had the next great investment idea?  It may be a really good friend, perhaps someone that you see on the cocktail party circuit or in many cases it’s your friendly investment advisor, insurance agent, stock broker, financial planner et. al.

I’m not talking about the guy who always has the inside scoop on the latest stock pick necessarily.  No…I’m talking about the guy who in 1991 had the inside track on how to make a fortune in the Russian telecommunications business.  Guess what?? You can be a part of it for only $100,000.

As we’re sort of famous for saying, “That’ll work out good for someone….probably not you, but someone’s gonna make a lot of money”

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CNBC Thinks Life Insurance Works for Retirement Income?

CNBC Thinks Life Insurance Works for Retirement Income

Yeah you read that right.  In a recent story over at CNBC, How to Invest for a (Mostly) Tax-Free Retirement life insurance is actually given a little a tip of the hat!

Clearly, the world is coming to an end.  The mainstream financial media usually takes great pleasure in beating up on whole life insurance and all types of cash value life insurance for that matter.  What's more…they typically take a few swipes at life insurance agents just for good measure.

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