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A Museum Dedicated To Stocks

December 18th, 2011 2 comments
1-exhibits

Museum of Finance

In recent years, I have visited many of the museums in Manhattan. I started with the largest and most popular ones, and quickly have determined that photos don’t do many of these fine works of art any justice; you need to see them up close. See works by Salvador Dali or Van Gogh at MOMA.

To get more ideas for museums, I went to the yearly CultureFest held in Battery Park City, NYC. There are many smaller museums which serve some niche interests which this festival highlights along with some performance art that is scheduled thoughout the day. It is worth a visit if you have the opportunity, Battery Park is beautiful and a great place to host a festival. It is at the CultureFest where I learned that there is a Museum of Finance (or as I like the call it, the Money Museum) located where else but on Wall Street. This is worth a visit, too, but make sure you plan other activities. It won’t fill up your day in the same way the CultureFest or MOMA would. I recently visited this museum.

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Weekend Investor: Sunday Reading

December 11th, 2011 2 comments

This is what I am reading this weekend.

Futura Seeks To Lift Fortunes – Futura UK (LON:FUM), which trades on the London exchange is looking to “enhance” earnings in an unusual way. Adding Viagra to condoms. No Joke.

Cheap Stock With A Recent Dividend – Mantra talks about Becton, Dickinson and Co. (BDX). This company has increased dividends for 38 straight years, does it belong in your portfolio?

The Maturation Of Tech Stocks – Dividend Monk talks about if those mature technology companies from the first Internet Boom are worthy of investment because of their dividend policy. Can these former pure growth companies convince you that they are dividend growth plays?

IBM Dividend Stock Analysis – Speaking of former pure growth darlings, IBM has successfully transformed itself into a formidable dividend growth stock. Read Dividend Growth Investor’s analysis.

Why You Should Not Invest Using Leverage – BuyLikeBuffett talks about why you shouldn’t use leverage. This is a controversial topic as the MF Global bankruptcy has demonstrated that the recent lessons of the financial meltdown haven’t been heeded. There are cases where even average investors can use leverage, such as Municipal Bond Funds. Most Municipal bond funds use leverage without much difficulty.

Ford Ends Dividend Drought – Marketwatch.com reported that Ford (F) has reinstated its dividend after a five year drought. Ford was the only domestic automobile manufacturer which didn’t go into bankruptcy. This is not an obvious dividend growth play more of a contrarian play.

If You Own Mutual Funds Or ETFs, Don’t Ignore This Metric – MoneyCone offers up this extensive and complete article about Lipper averages and how to use them when evaluating mutual funds and ETFs. Takeaways: Lipper averages mean beating other funds, not necessarily the market; mutual fund providers game the rating system to make their funds look better (does this surprise anyone?).

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Weekend Investor: Lessons From Ralph and Ed

November 26th, 2011 No comments

Every New Years day a local television station (CW11) broadcasts an all day marathon of the 1950’s series the Honeymooners. It’s still funny, and there’s a lot to be learned about American culture of that period because the show was a lot edger in its day than other programs about family life. This is a finance site, so I will keep my discussion to financial issues. After watching a few episodes, it becomes evident that Ralph Kramden (played by Jackie Gleason) and Ed Norton (played by Art Carney) lead very different consumer lives.

Ed’s apartment is furnished well, with window treatments, furniture and the modern devices of the era (TV, phone). In contrast, Ralph’s  apartment is quite spartan. Ralph often chastizes his wife about overspending and all the extras his wife gets, but that of course is really just a joke. One could conclude that Norton is more prosperous than Ed.

In one of the episodes, it is revealed where each of them stand in terms of their finances. Surprise, it was revealed that they both earn the same salary. What accounts for their differing lifestyles? That is also partially covered. Apparently Ed can afford his lifestyle because he has borrowed heavily to pay for it all. It isn’t made as clear in any of the episodes how Ralph “affords” his lifestyle, but his wife often complains about the previous schemes where he loses money.  So, his money is likely frittered away on get rich schemes that of course never payoff (it they did it wouldn’t be funny).

Norton is one payment away from bankruptcy, while Ralph is one scheme away from riches (which very likely will never occur).  Both have very little savings.

Here’s the lessons to be learned:

  • Moderation in your finances is preferable.
  • Have reasonable expectations about returns on your investments.
  • Spend money now to live your life.

Weekend Investor: A Flat Tax Would Cause…More Unemployment

November 19th, 2011 No comments

For the first time a major Republican candidate (Rick Perry) has supported a Flat Tax proposal. Also, we can at least partially credit Herman Cain’s Flat Tax proposal (the so-called 9-9-9 plan) for elevating him to the top of the candidate heap. Flat Tax proposals have been around as long as taxes have existed. You may remember Steve Forbes, a second tier former presidential candidate who proposed such a tax plan when he ran in years 1996 and 2000. At that time it didn’t gain any traction.

Why are these proposals gaining traction now? The main reason is that economists, politicians, and other exports are realizing that as a country we are losing our competitiveness at least in part because of the tax system. There is pretty much a consensus in Washington that the Corporate Tax system is uncompetitive with other nations. The best that we could do is to at least get the U.S. back into the middle of the pack in tax competitiveness so that business decisions could be made on the other merits.
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Weekend Investor: The Elderly Have All The Wealth

November 12th, 2011 No comments

How can you get wealthy? The answer is revealed in this recent news report. The amount of average wealth is larger the older you are. Duh! Many people may think that some magic fairy hands it out, or my favorite phrase, “distributes it” by some governor.

This is not rocket science, no special study is required to conclude the obvious.
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