Monthly Archives: July 2010

Mutual Funds With High Minimum’s Don’t Perform Better

The first cost any mutual investor faces is a fund’s minimum. Some funds have no or low minimum investments, but many have sizable ones. In an article for Financial Planning published August 1, Brigham Young University professor Craig L. Israelsen finds that a higher minimum does not at all imply a better performance. Continue reading

BP’s Hayward Stokes The Executive Pay Fire

BP CEO Tony Hayward is out with a pay package the Times of London is reporting at $18 million. That’s not huge by some recent exit standards, as noted in a post at the Washington Post’s PostLeadership blog.  Lee Raymond, for example,  got $351 million when he left Exxon Mobil in 2006, though that wasn’t on the heels of an historic environmental calamity. So why should investors care? Continue reading

Volatility, Efficient Markets and Human Behavior

In an earlier post, I quoted testimony given May 20 before a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs about the “flash crash” rapid market drop of May 6. There  Larry Liebowitz, Chief Operating Officer of NYSE Euronext argued that with modern technology “fear gets transferred to the market faster than ever.”  Is that the market being super efficient? Not really. Fear is an emotion, a human behavior, not information about the underlying investments. Continue reading

401(k) Fee Pain


That’s the sound of your money slowly being eroded away by fees. Fees associated with 4o1(k) plans have come in for some discussion of late. The Labor Department proposed new rules that would require better disclosure of fees and conflicts of interest to employers sponsoring 401 (k)s. Continue reading

Obama and the Wealth of Presidents

Before he graced the lowly dollar bill, George Washington was a well-off landowner and farmer. In fact a recent article in the Atlantic, puts him at the top of the presidential financial heap. The piece estimates his net worth at its peak at a cool $545 million. No wonder he looks so unflappable.  Looking at Presidential wealth over the decades and centuries highlights an interesting point for today’s investors, especially those focused on retirement savings. Continue reading

Wall Street Reform May Not Go Far Enough

The financial reform bill  has passed both houses of Congress and is whizzing its way to the White House for the President’s signature as fast as it can get there.  Though its changes are many, in at least one area, executive compensation, they’re not quite as radical as some had hoped. Continue reading

Americans Face Steep Retirement Shortfall

A study released July 13 has found that nearly half of early Baby Boomers – those 56 to 62 – may not having sufficient income to pay for basic retirement expenditures and uninsured medical expenses. “Generation X” is similarly poorly positioned. Continue reading

Time To Buy Stocks?

The second quarter was a bad one for stock investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 10%. Any big movement — even a dismal slide — does bring one opportunity: the chance to sell some investment high, buy others low. In other words, reblance. In a CBS MoneyWatch segment this morning, Jill Schelssinger, calls this the silver lining of the market’s bad, bad quarter. (Below.) Continue reading