Archive - June 2008

1
Some Days You Get the Bear, and Some Days the Bear Gets You
2
Extreme College Planning
3
How Much FDIC Insurance Can I Have at One Bank?
4
Buffett’s Bet
5
Tax Refunds Going to IRAs May Cause Snafus

Some Days You Get the Bear, and Some Days the Bear Gets You

Some Days You Get the Bear; others the Bear Gets YouWall Street is licking its wounds this weekend, no doubt, after being pretty badly clawed by what is almost certainly a bear market. In the coming days you’ll see all sorts of articles offering you free advice, e.g. identifying “Bear Market Stocks You Should Buy Now,” providing lists of the mutual funds into which you should put all your money, and so forth. What should you do?

First of all, if I may borrow a phrase from the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t panic.” If you’re an investor, you should already have expected that the markets could drop, because …

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Extreme College Planning

Most parents aren’t looking forward to the cost of sending their kids through college. For those of you who really want to get a head start, here’s a scheme that will help maximize your college savings, albeit via rather quirky means.

Some time ago, a friend approached me with a question that no one had ever asked me before:  Is there a way to establish a tax-favored college savings plan for a child who hasn’t been born yet?  As it happened, he and his wife were planning to have a child within a year or so.  They had some cash …

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How Much FDIC Insurance Can I Have at One Bank?

How Much FDIC Insurance Can You Have at One Bank?Most people understand that the FDIC insures certain kinds of bank deposits, like bank CDs. There’s no way to “guarantee” an investment against losses, but an FDIC-insured deposit is probably the closest most of us will ever come to a guaranteed investment. However, consumers are sometimes a bit confused about how much FDIC insurance coverage they can have.

The current FDIC insurance limit is $100,000, so it’s not so common that a household would need to worry about having enough coverage.  But sometimes people have unusual liquidity needs, or lots of money, or they’re just very conservative and want to …

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Buffett’s Bet

Buffett's BetLegendary investor Warren Buffett has made an interesting wager with the management of a New York hedge fund. Buffett is betting that over the course of ten years, the hedge fund won’t be able to outperform a passive S&P 500 index fund after fees are considered.

The bet – each side is putting up $320,000, to be held by a third party and invested in a zero-coupon Treasury bond for ten years – is Buffett’s way of ridiculing the high fees charged by hedge funds.  Protégé Partners, the other party in the wager, runs a fund of hedge funds.  …

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Tax Refunds Going to IRAs May Cause Snafus

Taxpayers who previously set up their tax refunds to be deposited directly to their IRAs this year will need to be vigilant: Economic Stimulus rebate checks will also be automatically deposited into any IRAs whose owners have set them up to receive tax refunds.

Normally, arranging for your tax refund to go into your IRA directly is a great idea – it protects you from the temptation to spend the refund.  Since most of us practice “mental accounting,” a tax refund that goes directly into our IRA won’t give us the feeling that we’re giving something up to save for …

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