KDFC Educational Seminar on Investment Planning – October 9th

KDFC will be hosting a second educational seminar on investments, on October 9th at 10:00am.  The title of the seminar has not been finalized yet but my presentation will focus on core attributes of a successful, long-term investment strategy.  The objective of these educational seminars is to empower individual investors to take charge of their investment future with greater understanding and confidence.  We do not talk about specific investments;  we discuss strategies...
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Another reason to hate munis

On Bloomberg today, Arthur Levitt discusses a recent enforcement action taken by the SEC’s Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit.  He rightly calls for a raising of the bar with regard to disclosure and conduct by public servants and private advisors, giving four recommendations:  View Article  After a market meltdown, government and the press tend to scurry around looking for overlooked evidence or "early warning signs" that might have foreshadowed the particula...
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Dodd-Frank Bill Raises the Bar for Accredited Investor

Tim Galbraith, head of alternative investment strategies for Morningstar Associates, wrote a fine article about the change in the definition of "accredited investor" that came with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  While many will view the tightening of the definition as a positive development --- an added safeguard against the netherworld of unregistered investments  ----  I have a different take:  Congress missed an opportunity to create a more rational and inve...
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Equity Index Annuities: The News is Out

Jane Bryant Quinn writes on CBS Marketwatch about the ill-conceived decision to grant Equity-Indexed Annuities immunity from SEC oversight.  As Ms. Quinn reports:  "...the equity-indexed annuity — a costly product with a woeful past — slipped out of the hands of a potentially strong regulator and into the cushioned lap of a weak one."   She goes on to explain how these policies are structured and marketed to elderly consumers, for whom the policies are not suitable.  FINRA, the securities indu...
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Equity Index Annuities – Financial Overhaul Creates a Safe Harbor, but not for Consumers

Tara Siegel Bernard writes in the NY Times about a provision of the financial overhaul bill that is particularly odious:  the decision to prohibit SEC oversight of Equity-Indexed Annuities.  These products, which are packaged as insurance but sold as investments, incorporate derivative characteristics to offer consumers a guaranteed "return of premium" plus "some participation" in the equity indices to which they are linked.  The sales practices surrounding these products are notorious - just go...
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Laura Saunders’ Excellent Article on how the Wealth Tax May Affect You

Laura Saunders of the Wall Street Journal has written an excellent piece explaining how the health care wealth tax will affect many high income taxpayers.  The complete article is available on the WSJ website and has been reprinted on the Yahoo Finance website. Here are some highlights from the piece: === "How does the 0.9% tax work? If Joe and Mary each earn $175,000, their total employment income is $350,000. Currently they owe 1.45%—$5,075—of regular Medicare tax, and their employers owe a...
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Pros and Cons of Investing on Your Own

The Summer 2010 issue of ONINVESTING, Schwab's magazine for clients, lists advantages and disadvantages in helping readers evaluate whether to  "Invest on Your Own" or "Hire an Expert?"  The are listed below, along with our take on how to weigh these pros and cons in context. INVEST ON YOUR OWN Pros No management fees Hand-on understandng of your investments Cons Time commitment Potential stress HIRE AN EXPERT Pros Access to his or her knowledge and experience. Cons Management fees OUR T...
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The Trouble With Munis

My clients know that that I have been pounding the table about municipal bonds for the past eighteen months... as in "Sell your munis before it's too late."  The narrative is simple:  the fiscal problems facing state and local governments are enormous, and municipal administrations are hamstrung in their ability to reduce spending or raise revenue.  Of course there are thousands of municipal issues, many of which are backed by specific projects or income streams and therefore, arguably, not subj...
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