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Weekend Investor: The NY Times Will Pay You To Take The Paper!

January 7th, 2012 No comments

During the weekend, it’s relaxing to drink coffee and…read the newspaper!

Newspapers still have value, there is an experience here that can’t be duplicated with an iPad. Though, I have to admit that I don’t read newspapers that much anymore.

If you are a person of a certain age (say over 35), you probably at sometime in the past remember getting a paper newspaper delivered to your home. It’s been over 10 years since I last had a NY Times print subscription. Like many things you develop as a habit when you are a child, I still have affection for reading newspapers – especially the Sunday edition. As much as I like everything available electronically, sometimes it is too much and overwhelming.
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How To Handle That Pesky After Tax 401(k) Money

January 5th, 2012 3 comments

You’ve done a great job investing in your 401(k) at your job. Then you decide to leave that job to a better paying one. So, you decide that you want to rollover your 401(k) to an IRA. Here’s an overview of how to do this rollover correctly. By doing this, this opens up your 401(k) to all the great investment options offered in a typical brokerage account. Great, you go to your plan administrator to fill out the paperwork and they tell you that you have after tax money in your 401(k) which can’t go over to the IRA. After tax money?!? Aren’t 401(k)s always pre-tax money?

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2011 Portfolio Performance

January 3rd, 2012 4 comments

Here’s a summary of the performance of my portfolio for 2011.

For 2011, if the company was boring, has an unloved business model or product, or had a decent, sustainable yield investors bought it. Did investors simply wake up and decide that all of these companies should be bought? I think that is part of it, not because the professionals have any particular sound valuation methodology. They are simply following the smart money. And the smart money has been saying to buy yield. Wall street is broken up into two camps:

  • Top 5%, leader (e.g. Goldman Sachs during the crisis)
  • 95%, everyone else who follows the momentum.

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2012: Plan To Succeed At Investing

January 1st, 2012 2 comments

A new year is always exciting. Clear out the old and make way for the new. Start on those resolutions, and face the reality that the gym is going to really get crowded for a few months. And those inevitable posts about what stocks you should invest in. I’ve submitted my 2012 stock picks in the MONEY PROS Index Fund challenge.

Investing is exciting, every day I am watching markets, reading news/analysis looking for that next great thing to invest in. As much as I like investing, I’ll be the first one to tell you that your success as an investor depends mostly on your persistence and consistency in your savings, not your returns. I could tell you to buy “this” stock or “that” stock to make your rich, but that isn’t typically how it works. It is possible to make lots of money finding great stocks (believe me I am trying!); however, it is much easier and more likely you will succeed by saving a lot and assuming modest rates of return. If things work out better, then great!
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Does The Payroll Tax Cut Lower Your SS Benefits?

December 28th, 2011 1 comment

The Congress and the President have passed a two month extension to the payroll tax cut first initiated in 2009. This tax cut reduces the payroll tax rates from 6.2% to 4.2%. The payroll tax is money dedicated to funding Social Security retirement and disability benefits. Most of the money goes towards funding Social Security retirement benefits.

This tax cut will offer the average taxpayer a boost of about $1,000 to their income. Also, since this tax is levied on individual people not on households, your spouse and children will also get the cut as well if they work. The tax cut phases out at about 104K due to a cap in the amount of income that the tax applies to.

Since the tax cut necessarily funds Social Security with less money, does this mean that you future benefits will be reduced? The short answer is NO.
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