Category - Investing

1
Are Your Investments Insured?
2
Using Exchange Traded Funds – Part 2
3
Using Exchange Traded Funds – Part 1
4
Parking Your Cash
5
Some Days You Get the Bear, and Some Days the Bear Gets You

Are Your Investments Insured?

Are your Investments Insured?Generally speaking, investments held in brokerage accounts are insured by an agency called the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).  The SIPC is a quasi-governmental body under the oversight of the SEC.  The SIPC is definitely not the brokerage version of the FDIC.

Although the SIPC does not have the regulatory power of the FDIC, it does have one similar function: it insures assets held at all SEC-registered brokerages.  When a broker-dealer fails, the SIPC manages the distribution of investors’ assets.  If any assets are missing, the SIPC replaces insured securities up to the insurance limits.

There are many kinds …

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Using Exchange Traded Funds – Part 2

Today’s post continues Part 1 with a further explanation of this rapidly-growing alternative to the mutual fund. In my initial post I explained that ETFs

  • are created by financial institutions in large blocks that can be freely converted into underlying securities
  • are transparent, meaning that the underlying securities are publicly disclosed on a continuous basis
  • trade continuously on financial exchanges at prices that generally move closely with the underlying securities
  • are generally liquid, reflecting the liquidity of the underlying securities
  • are usually (but not necessarily) linked to a securities index
  • tend to have low management costs

These are generalizations, and …

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Using Exchange Traded Funds – Part 1

In the last four years or so, there has been explosion of newly created exchange traded funds (ETFs) in the financial marketplace. What are these investment products, and how are they different from the more familiar mutual funds?

Figure 1 shows the growth in both the number of exchange traded funds available and the amount of money invested in them.  Although the ETF world is still dwarfed by the $11 trillion mutual fund industry, ETFs have clearly taken off on a growth spurt.  Exchange traded funds were originally introduced to provide an investment vehicle with certain advantages over mutual funds.…

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Parking Your Cash

Parking your CashIf you have a longer-term CD that is now coming to maturity, you’ve probably been disappointed to discover how much interest rates have dropped since you last locked in your CD rate. What are the best options for those with short-to-medium-term cash to invest these days?

My first observation is a warning: you should scrutinize closely any investment that is not a straightforward money market fund or CD.  Why?  Because there are quite a few short-term cash “alternatives” being touted right now; among these are a variety of ultrashort bond funds, bank loan funds, and exchange-traded notes.

With interest rates …

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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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