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1
What Is A Preferred Stock?
2
Should You Hedge Housing Prices?
3
Know Your Investment Horizon
4
Estate Planning in a Down Market
5
When Should I Start Giving An Allowance?

What Is A Preferred Stock?

Preferred stocks are securities with characteristics of both stocks and bonds. Like a bond, preferred stock has a fixed dividend that it will pay to owners each year. Also like a bond, preferred stock owners do not have the ability to vote on the management of a company. Lastly, because preferred stocks pay a fixed dividend, the value of a preferred share fluctuates more from changes in interest rates than from the actual performance of the company that issued the stock.

However, preferred stocks do not have a maturity date like bonds. Additionally, if a company fails to pay a …

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Should You Hedge Housing Prices?

Should you hedge housing prices?Last May I attended a talk by Yale economist Robert Shiller in which he indicated that his company, MacroMarkets, was seeking SEC approval for a derivative product tied to home prices. Finally, this week the new “housing ETFs” are available. What are they about, and who should buy them?

For a couple of decades, Robert Shiller has wanted to invent a way to indirectly invest in residential real estate.  Knowing that such a security would need to be linked to a housing market index, he and Wellesley College economist Karl Case developed the Case-Shiller indices, which have become widely-recognized …

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Know Your Investment Horizon

For those entering the retirement stage of their lives, I apologize, but this article is not for you. Hopefully, this market pull back has encouraged you to closely examine your tolerance for risk, and develop a portfolio that is properly diversified and appropriately allocates assets between cash, bonds, and stocks.

Photo by: WTL Photo

Photo by: WTL Photo

For those with 7 years or more before retirement, listen up. Nearly one hundred years of market data suggest that the market will return an average of 10% over time. Clearly, as the last decade has illustrated, it may take time for the law of averages …

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Estate Planning in a Down Market

Most Americans are not subject to the federal estate tax at its current exemption levels.  For 2009, each person can pass $3.5 million to heirs estate-tax free at their death.
However, if your estate has the potential to be affected by the estate tax, you have some planning opportunities right now.   A down market can mean tough times, but it can also present unique opportunities to minimize property transfer (gift and estate) taxes. While owning assets that are losing value might seem like a bad thing, it may actually be a great time to reduce your taxable estate by gifting …
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When Should I Start Giving An Allowance?

Parents want to know when the right time is to pay allowance.  It’s sort of like knowing when the right time is to get married or have kids.  It depends on the family and on the individual kids.

For most kids, when they are aware that things cost money, they’re ready to have some money of their own.  And the right amount is usually about a dollar per week per year of age.  So a five year old could have as much as $5 per week.  The next step is crucial!  Don’t buy the child all of the discretionary purchases …

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