Erasing High Variable Annuity Fees and The Unstoppable Move Toward “Advisor” Annuities

For years financial advisors have recommended variable annuities as a one stop solution for a variety of client concerns. Afraid of losing your principal? Covered. Afraid of running out of money? Covered. Want to earn a stock market return with less risk? Covered. But the cost of these feel good solutions may be too high. The fees on some of these variable annuity products approximate 4% (!!) all in. And at that level, the chance of “market returns” becomes much less…

Diversification and Hedging Aren’t for Just Minimizing Losses – There’s Gains To Be Had!

Many consider diversification to be a defensive portfolio measure used to reduce volatility  and increase returns with less “risk.” That’s all fine and good, but what if diversification added some offense to your portfolio too? What if in your pursuit to diversify away from having all your money in just stocks, you also found an opportunity to add returns, especially when stocks are down, that could not only keep you from big losses but also might produce decent gains? And what…

Using Put Options to Protect Yourself During Employee Stock Sale Lockouts

Last night, I cam across this story via Gawker’s Valleywag: Ex Twitter Employees freaking Out Because They Can’t Sell Their Stock I proceeded to read some (sadly) amusing lamentations and stories about former Twitter employees who could not sell their Twitter employee options and stock on the day the lock up ended, supposedly while the executives could. here’s an excerpt: An anonymous reader in Kinja, who directed us to the Facebook thread said “basically no employees have been able to sell,” except…

Angling the Tax Code to Make Obamacare Work for You

Many people are worried about Obamacare and the impact it’s having on accessibility and cost. On the one hand the law guarantees coverage for students to a later age and to those previously uninsurable (among others). On the other hand, the law uses – in some cases – extreme cost increases to certain other types to help offset the costs. Even though the whole law is quite a mess in the eyes of many critics, there are ways to make…

The Value of Higher Education

Author note: This is a follow up and continuation (and in some parts reiteration of my article The Future of Education… published 9/30/13…~Chris In the past year and half, I’ve been sharing a different perspective on the value of higher education than most people are familiar with. Let me use Charles Hugh Smith’s quote to sum up my feelings: “More education” of the current sort is not a panacea to wealth inequality, as the widening gaps in education, employment and…

Fix That Resume – Your Largest Asset Depends On It

Did you know your resume could be worth over $1 million? It could be. My reasoning is as follows… (cover photo courtesy of Juhansonin) Some time ago, I came across this neat article on how to frame a resume from Tammy Erickson in the Harvard Business Review: The Case of the Rolling Stone (that Gathers no Moss) Resume In this short but sweet article, are some excellent tidbits:

If Health Is Most Important, Why Do You Spend More Time Worrying About Money?

Front page photo credit: CherryPoint It’s classic. People in studies (including this from the Chicago Tribune) often talk about health being the most important concern in their future and during retirement. But then when you look at people, you see them focused (read: worried) about everything but health. Here’s what I mean – if health were THAT important, it would be scheduled first in our calendar, wouldn’t it? I’m guilty of this myself often. Saying health is important but working…

Is Your Insurance Company at Risk?

In the 2008 financial crisis, insurers (outside of AIG) weren’t discussed too much. Yes Metlife, The Hartford, and a few other insurers had financial problems, but considering that there are 1,500 life insurance companies in the US, there was very little strife.  Furthermore, it wasn’t AIG’s insurance business that got it in trouble either – AIG’s life insurance units for example, held up rather well. So does that mean life insurance companies are without risk? That is a statement I…

In-Force Annuities – Buying Someone Else’s Foolishness

Millions of people, in search of yields over 2%, have moved money from their banks accounts to financial markets. Buying up REITs, MLPs, Preferred stocks, High Dividend-Paying Stocks and Junk Bonds has been the solution for some. And even though yields on those investments are still much higher than bank account yields, many a scared investor still has their money in the bank. The fear of the markets from 2008 still permeates the brain cells of the masses. And this…

Financial Independence by 50 (or 40) for Regular People

What does Financial Independence mean to you? “Financial Independence” is what we used to call “Retirement.” So if you like that word better, so be it. What does it mean to you? For older generations, they may have looked forward to stopping work and relaxing – and seeing that we had a larger blue collar workforce in the 1950s and 1960s, and that that type of work is much more strenuous, I can understand that. However for many younger people,…

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