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Use The KISS Principle

Today it is more complicated than ever for the average investor to really understand how to pick a mutual fund.   Most novices may choose a fund if it has a 4-star or 5-star ranking.   Or they decide to pick a fund because they did a Google search for best returns and then select one from the top of list.  The truth is, most investors today would be lucky if they could name one or two actual positions that their mutual fund owns if they were asked.  In my opinion fund companies could become more friendly if they used the Keep It Simple Stupid principle. First, mutual fund companies should provide consumers some sort of simple x-ray software so when they choose to buy multiple funds from a fund company, an investor can at least have some idea about how much the different funds overlap.  Far too often, I see consumers who own three or four different mutual funds only to ...

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Listen To What The Baby Has To Say

I am a complete marketing junkie, so I have to give props to financial companies that take risks to launch edgy marketing campaigns.  Historically, investment companies are boring advertisers showing couples taking a bicycle ride, smelling the roses on their front porch, or some actor looking all serious on camera about the ‘serious’ investment company.   I was a bit melancholy this year to see the last installments of the E*Trade baby commercials which completed a tremendous six year run of ad spots. For a marketing campaign to be successful, it has to leave a mark etched in our mind that will last for many years to come.  Think about slogans like Nike’s Just Do It or Wendy’s Where’s The Beef that you can remember just like it was yesterday.   When the E*Trade baby aired during the Super Bowl in 2008, the commercial made us all laugh while at the same time beginning the drip the ideas of what we could ...

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Five Things I Bought But Never Used

Are you one of those people that like to buy stuff all the time?    The kind of person who has a mild addiction to the internet like you were opening presents on Christmas day?   As much enjoyment as you might get from receiving new packages to open at home, you’ll realize years later that some items you buy you just simply never use.    Here are five that I bought over the years that I never used.  I Pod Knock Offs– I was on one of those Deal Of The Day websites when I noticed a sale for $4.99 for what looked to be I-Pods.    The site didn’t say they were I-Pods, but they looked identical in nature to the I-Pod.   Somehow, I thought I would use these stockings stuffers or neat little giveaways.    So I bought 10 of them.   When the packaged arrived, the directions were all is some foreign languages, the boxes were half cracked, and all of sudden ...

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Personal Finance 101 – Retirement Planning What Are Your Retirement Assumptions

You often see the commercials on television today asking the question, “What’s Your Number”?   What they are really referring to is the notion of how much money do you need in order to be able to retire.  It’s funny that most people I talk to today don’t really call it retirement.  They really think about the term of making work optional.  This means having the ability to do what they want when they want irrespective of money.   Over the next four weeks on Your Smart Money Moves, I am going to share with you how to really think about the personal financial area of retirement planning. I have always thought about my ‘work optional’ number being the amount of money I actually need on a debit card when I retire to maintain my standard of living the way I want it when I go ‘work optional’.   The mistake that I see in many financial plans is that the assumptions made ...

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