Some Of The Riskiest Investments May Surprise You

One of the biggest fears people have when it comes to investing is a year like 2008, when the US stock market fell almost 40%. But as long as you didn’t bail out of stocks, you would have recovered your losses in about 5 years and then gone on to make more money. The same is true of every other market downturn since the Great Depression. If you’re worried about the real risk of permanent loss, some of the riskiest investments actually seem much safer. Here are ones that may surprise you: Read more

How to Invest While Getting a Tan

June signifies summer, a time when millions of Americans flock to frolic in the sand and soak up some sun. If only investing were as easy as a day at the beach…or is it? It can be if you follow these simple guidelines: Read more

Which History Matters?

Risk is something most people want to avoid.For that reason, and with 2008’s stock market crash and a lot of talk about today’s market being at or near all-time highs, I am seeing people re-evaluating the level of investment risk in their 401k’s. One trend that is a bit troubling is going on with young employees in their 20’s and 30’s who entered the workforce or were relatively new hires when the 2008 collapse happened. Many of these employees are shunning investment risk at perhaps the expense of their future financial security. Read more

Three Investment Terms You Should Know

Have you ever noticed how different words mean different things to different people? The other day I was talking with a helpline caller who was looking for a way to invest their retirement funds such that they couldn’t lose money and could draw an income from it in the future. When I mentioned the word “annuity,” they immediately had a negative reaction as they were lead to believe all annuities were bad, which seemed ironic considering that’s exactly what they just described they were looking for. When it comes to investment terminology, not understanding the meaning of a word can be a financial mistake. Here are three investment terms that are frequently used but often misunderstood: Read more

Do You Understand Your Advisor’s Recommendations?

I recently spoke to a friend who wanted to ask my opinion about her current financial advisor. Knowing that I have a slight addiction to chocolate, she offered me her homemade Godiva Hot Chocolate with a chocolate coated bottom for my trouble. Of course I would have offered my opinion at no cost, but who am I to turn down her homemade hot cocoa? As I listened, she started to describe how she was referred to him though a family friend so she did not feel the need to do a background check or ask him questions about how he gets paid. She took it on faith that if her family member recommended him then she would be fine.  Read more

The Risks of Employer Stock

One of the biggest risks I’ve seen lurking in people’s investments is having too much in a current or former employer’s company stock.What’s too much? You should generally have no more than 10-15% of your investment portfolio in any single stock. Keep in mind that an investment adviser can lose their license for recommending more than that. Read more

What Risks Are You Willing to Take?

One of the things that always astounds me is the behavior of people when there is money on the table. The bigger the pile, the more interesting the behavior gets at times. In my days working with clients of substantial means, sometimes their decision making would particularly puzzle me.   Read more

What is Risk?

For many people, reducing their risk is their top investment priority. Yet, in I’ve noticed that the word “risk” means very different things to different people. The standard definition in the financial world is the variance of returns. In other words, a risky investment is one in which the returns fluctuate a lot from year to year. But when most people use the word “risk,” I think they’re referring to the probability of their investment losing value.  Read more

Are You Taking Too Much Risk With Your Investments or Not Enough?

Last week, I wrote about which investment firm is the best.  (You’ll have to read the blog for the answer!)  As a part of that blog, there were some questions I left unanswered.  So I’ll address two of them today and the remainder next week. Read more

What Would Goldilocks Do?

Over the last few months, the stock market has reached levels that we have not seen since before the financial crisis/Great Recession.  Companies are reporting good earnings.  Interest rates are low.  Economists say that we are in a recovery.  Yet, so many people I talk to are still very afraid to re-enter the stock market.   I see a lot of 401(k) accounts that are still more conservatively allocated than the employee’s goals and age would indicate they could be.  My question, which I ask either to myself or to no one in particular, is “Why?”  I have my own theories and I talked with a psychologist about what her field might say about this issue. Read more

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