May 2017

This Is Your Brain On Annuities

  Annuity salespeople are literally hunting in the zoo. These complex products are often misused while clients are abused. This is not to say that some people would not benefit from a low-cost annuity as part of an asset allocation strategy. The problem is the majority of the time the wrong people are targeted by…

Risk Literacy Must Precede Financial Literacy

  People need to be more certain about uncertainty. Life is not a math problem. Investing provides ground zero for the cost of this neglect. “I don’t know,” “maybe,” and “it depends,” are words that are clearly lacking in the vocabularies of too many investors and those who are paid to advise them. This belief…

Warning: Don’t Jump Into this Dark Kiddie Pool

Ustocktrade L.L.C. just lobbed a big turd into the dark pool. Its founder, Tony Weeresinghe, has inexplicably created a private stock exchange where novice investors can trade with each other in secret. Professional investors buy and sell stocks in the murky waters of dark pool exchanges for specific purposes. They want to keep their strategies secret…

The Fiduciary: A Higher Calling?

Dina here … In one week, President Trump will sit face-to-face with Pope Francis; the world’s most visible and outspoken proponent of looking out for those who most need protecting. Who knows?  Maybe he can convince Trump of the importance of the Fiduciary Rule?  Now that would require Divine Intervention. Pope Francis: The Best Case…

An Aggressively Clueless Investment

While the fiduciary law languishes on death row, investors are now allowed to trade 4X leveraged ETFs.  Such is the state of the world we live in. For the uninitiated, these funds allow investors to participate in 4X the daily movement on both the upside or downside of the daily fluctuations of the fund’s holdings….

When The Investment Train Is Too Crowded — Get Off!

Following the herd in life — or investing —  tends to end badly. Last night we were trapped in the transportation hell-hole called New York Pennsylvania Station. There was some sort of “signal” problem which ended cancelling 80 trains. When this happens, a nuclear chain reaction ensues. Since so many trains are cancelled, the crowd then…

Kids Think Financial Literacy Is Pretty “Lit”

Kids love learning about money. This makes the fact this subject is rarely taught in school more maddening. Last week, Dina and I were privileged to go into a local middle school and teach three classes of 6th and 7th graders some money basics. Our presentation centered on debt, budgeting and investing. This was supplemented…

Morgan Stanley Clients: Assume the Position

Dina here… Perhaps Tony and I have been hanging out too long because I swear, the snark factor in my latest blog sounds a lot like him — but it’s all me, and it’s all true. Click here if you’re curious to know why it really is déjà vu all over again (and not in…

Exit Light, Enter Night — We’re Off to 403(b) Land

“Sleep with one eye open gripping your pillow tight.”– Metallica Ruthless predators in disguise are raiding the retirement accounts of public school teachers. Just like wildlife lurking in the rain forest on the banks of the Amazon River, they manipulate their environment to consume unsuspecting prey. In the words of some other famous head-bangers, welcome to…

Many Investors Have a Contradiction-Addiction

  Most investors are a walking contradiction. You cannot love both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump; root for both the Yankees and the Red Sox; nor can you put grated cheese on linguine with clam sauce (shout out for all you hardcore Italians out there). Some things just cannot go together. Don’t tell this to investors. Their belief…