Financial Advice for Retirement, Social Security, IRAs and Estate Planning

Bob's Blog on Retirement & Beyond

Worrying About ETFs

May 25, 2011

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) have been very popular. They’re the fastest-growing financial product ever. But many people don’t fully understand them, and a number of people are worried about them. Terry Smith, a mutual fund manager writes that he’s concerned about ETFs. He calls them “worse than I thought.” There’s the usual worries about ETFs not […]

4 Reasons Retirement is Harder

May 25, 2011

Retirement has changed, and it will change again. That’s one of our long-term themes at Retirement Watch. Alicia Munnell of the Center for Retirement Research says these changes make retirement harder, or at least riskier, than it was for the parents of today’s retirees. To see her reasons (which we’ve discussed before in Retirement Watch […]

Following the Rich Overseas?

May 24, 2011

Most investment portfolios have what advisors call a “home country bias.” That means a vast majority of the portfolio is invested in assets of the owner’s country of residence. That’s been slowly changing, and it’s definitely changing for the wealthy in the U.S. The highest growth rates are in overseas economies, and those investments also […]

More Risk Doesn’t Equal Higher Returns

May 24, 2011

Conventional investment theory says that to earn higher returns you need to take more risk. That’s why many portfolios are heavily weighted toward stocks, even when stocks are trading at high valuations and the economy is stagnating. The truth is quite the opposite. You don’t need to take more risk to earn higher returns. In […]

Profiting with Preferreds

May 21, 2011

A few months back we added preferred stocks to our recommended portfolios. It was a good move, as this post from Bespoke Investments shows. I’m not recommending individual preferreds or the ETFs that mirror indexes. Instead, I’ve recommended Cohen & Steers Preferred Income and Securities. This fund is more diversified. It invests globally, not just […]

Bailing Out AIG

May 20, 2011

Yesterday I posted a link to a book about the collapse of AIG. I pointed out that Ben Bernanke said the need to bail out AIG was the aspect of the financial crisis that made him the most angry. The bailout also angers many people. The consensus is that the bailout actually went to 16 […]

Watching the USPS

May 20, 2011

Most people don’t pay a lot of attention to the U.S. Postal Service any more. With e-mail, FaceBook, smartphones, and all the rest, people just aren’t dependent on the mail for information and communication. People don’t spend a lot of time now complaining about the mail service or rising postage (except for those of us […]

Updating Commercial Real Estate

May 20, 2011

In the depths of the financial crisis, commercial real estate always was the “next shoe to drop.” It never did drop. One reason is that commercial real estate lenders usually don’t foreclose. They renegotiate the mortgages, sometimes known as “extend and pretend.” Of course, extremely low interest rates were a big help. You can see […]

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