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Darwin

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[ad#Content 300×250]Ever since Nassim Taleb’s bestseller The Black Swan and the subsequent market crash that ensued, which was clearly a Black Swan (a very rare, unanticipated event), investors and news pundits have been crowing about Black Swan investments and how to get rich off the next unanticipated event.  First, it’s instructive to consider just how to employ some of these strategies and how they might pay off, but it’s also important to consider the likelihood…

I continue to see articles, talk shows and Tweets touting the “110” rule for investing, saying that the percentage of stock you should hold in your portfolio should equal your 110 minus your age and the remainder should be in bonds.  Likewise, I also see a lot of simple “age in bonds” advice, even from the likes of John Bogle in Forbes recommending that you hold your age in bonds on a percentage basis. So,…

Gold investing had been all the rage from 2008 into 2010 when fears of an economic collapse and impending hyperinflation captured the imagination of Americans.  More recently though, gold had lost some of its luster, dipping back below the $1200 per ounce level and staying there for some time and the conversation switched from hyperinflation to a new era of deflation in the US.  However, this prior week has seen a new gold rally, sending…

A cash-in refinance is the polar opposite of what we saw consumers doing during the prior decade when they were using their houses like piggy-banks while the mortgage bubble inflated.  At that time, each time a homeowner executed a refinance, they could take cash out of their house (positive equity), and just keep upping their loan amount and paying it down at the new lower rate.  We know how that turned out.  However, more recently,…

There’s an interesting new phenomena brewing where people enticed by low rates and home prices well off their recent highs are “doubling down” on housing, essentially betting the house if you will, on more house.  This new group of people was profiled in the WSJ.com recently where some intriguing examples were culled out. “Some intrepid homeowners are intentionally taking a loss on their current house—and writing a big check to retire their old mortgage—in order…

There’s been much ado about the potential for the dreaded Value Added Tax (VAT) of late since the economic reality of America’s borrow and spend mantra is starting to hit home. What is the VAT? A value added tax is not much different than a sales tax, which is why Americans are so suspicious of it.  It’s a tax that gets levied at each stage along the supply chain and in the end, you the…

[ad#Content 300×250]Retail investors are confronted with a multitude of investment options ranging from savings accounts and CDs to stocks and bonds.  When venturing out of the safest (and lowest yielding) FDIC-protected options into stocks and bonds, it’s difficult to choose between various asset classes.  There are two key categories to think about first, and then refine further later. Income Investments for Yield This is often the more conservative approach, trading the opportunity for an increase…

We’ve been mulling over a move and it’s been a balance of fiscal restraint vs. getting the actual home we want in a more expensive school district that makes a move even worthwhile.  There’s no sense in moving into a smaller home or having a yard we don’t enjoy, so to get the home we want in the area we’re targeting, we’d definitely be looking at a higher mortgage/tax payment than what we have now. …

A few years back, target date funds were all the rage in retirement accounts like 401(k)s, 403(b)s and they spilled over into individual retirement accounts like IRAs as well.  The selling point was the following: You could simply “set it and forget it” and the fund would do all the work. How Target Date Funds are Supposed to Work The way the funds are supposed to work is that they ensure that the asset allocation…

It’s both amusing and frustrating to continue to see history repeat itself in that purported “experts” (who are often really acting out of pure self-interest) dole out advice which is both devoid of sound logic and rationale, but even worse, does not come to fruition. Because I refinanced last year and I’m constantly mulling over a future move, I’ve stayed in tune with what the “experts” have been predicting and what the actual mortgage rate…