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A Trillion Here, A Trillion There….
2
How Do Hedge Funds Fail so Spectacularly?
3
Protection for Bank Accounts, Brokerage Firms, Annuities and Insurance Policies: A Summary
4
Income Tax Changes in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act
5
Diversified Portfolio is Still the Long-Term Favorite

A Trillion Here, A Trillion There….

A Trillion Here, A Trillion There...Bloomberg.com has toted up all the Federal commitments made to date to stabilize the markets and the figure, if correct, is staggering: $7.76 trillion.

The late Sen. Everett Dirksen would be livid if he were around, even though Dirksen probably didn’t make the remark most often attributed to him.  But we’re definitely talking real money:  $7.76 trillion is about half of the US annual Gross Domestic Product.

The full amount hasn’t actually been spent; rather, this is the total of all the guarantees, asset buybacks, and equity purchases made by various government agencies over the past year.  The Federal …

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How Do Hedge Funds Fail so Spectacularly?

Yesterday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hauled in a gaggle of hedge fund managers to grill them about, among other things, why they should receive such favorable tax treatment. If I were a congressman, the question I’d have liked to have asked this crowd is, “Why is it so often the case that when hedge funds fail, they don’t merely fail, they implode, like dying stars?” This failure mode seems especially inappropriate for an investment class that’s often touted as a way to make money in both good times and bad.

I can’t possibly discuss all the …

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Protection for Bank Accounts, Brokerage Firms, Annuities and Insurance Policies: A Summary

I’ve written several posts on the asset protection limits available to consumers who have invested in a variety of financial assets. With all the changes and adjustments that have taken place in the last few months in the financial landscape, I thought it might be helpful to provide a single article summarizing the insurance /protections currently available to investors.

Some protections are temporary for now, while others appear to be permanent.  I expect there will be future modifications of federal protections if there are changes in the condition of the financial markets, for good or ill.

Money Market Accounts
The …

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Income Tax Changes in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act

With so much attention being given to the $700 billion bailout of banks and the financial industry in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, not much has been said about the individual income tax provisions included in the massive 440-page bill passed last month. If you’d like to avoid searching the full bill for the parts that might be personally relevant, here’s a quick summary of some provisions that could be interesting to you even if you’re not an enormous bank.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) relief
For the last several years, Congress has been applying bailing wire and duct …

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Diversified Portfolio is Still the Long-Term Favorite

There’s a lot of soul-searching among advisers these days, when financial markets all over the world seem to be tanking simultaneously. Still, past experience has shown that pulling an investment portfolio entirely out of stocks after a downturn is a bad idea. The problem is that no one can say for certain when stock markets will begin to go up.  Mind you, eventually some stock timer somewhere will announce that it’s time to get back into stocks, and lo, the stock market will climb, as if by magic.  But with thousands of professional stock timers out there making predictions, someone

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