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Hunter S. Thompson

Posted on: Sep 30, 2011 by Nicole Lapin | 0 Replies |

Buy the ticket, take the ride.

3 Typical Pieces of “Financial Expert” Advice: Debunked

Posted on: Sep 28, 2011 by Nicole Lapin | 0 Replies |

When you hear advice over and over again, it doesn’t mean it is right.  It doesn’t mean it is wrong, either.  Just don’t take the platitudes as fact.  Rethink and think for yourself.

1. “Invest in a 401k”

I say think about ditching your 401k. 

The biggest thing to remember about trusting your employer with your investments is: that you are trusting your employer with your investments.   

If you want the best returns, you are most likely in a stock plan — but that also means that you’re exposed to market risk, meaning that when stocks crash, so does your money.   

 And whatever wealth you are accumulating in a 401k (if any) can be susceptible to inflation risk — because if you are taking macro factors into consideration, you could be wiped out by inflation.   

 One of the most alluring parts of investing in a 401k is having your employer match your contributions. But guess what? Many employers don’t. Many 401ks also have ridiculously high fees and commissions that are simply not worth the risk of the unknown.  

As the old adage goes, better to take “money in pocket” over “promises that can’t be kept” any day. 

2. “Diversify your portfolio!”

Rethink diversification.

You hear asset allocation and diversification all the time. 

Lots of financial experts say they work their magic over time because you are forced to buy low and sell high. The idea is that, by mixing things up in your portfolio, you’re less likely to experience major drops, because when some sectors experience tough times, others may be thriving. 

You may be more isolated from big losses by diversifying, but you’re also isolated from big gains – and if all of the eggs in your basket are duds, you’re never going to get ahead, no matter how many different eggs you might have.

You can also hit max overload – studies have shown that, while some diversification reduces market risk, the market risk isn’t reduced by a significant amount once you hit having around 20 stocks or more. So don’t spread yourself too thin.  And, please, for the love of God, stop stressing about diversification it’s not the magically going to make you a millionaire.

3.  ”Buy a home!”

Rent a home.

It used to be that putting a down payment on a house or apartment was the sure fire way to build your net worth. But after the roller coaster ride that housing has been on in recent years, it’s time to take a closer look at renting. 

Buying a house comes with tons of additional costs – transaction fees for the broker, maintenance fees, renovations – while many of those costs are included when you rent an apartment. 

Renting allows you greater flexibility to take any opportunities that might come your way, and you typically have more leverage in negotiating rent than with a full-on mortgage.

Also, remember that down payment – typically about 20% of the mortgage. You don’t get that money back like you do a security deposit.

And while buying a home adds to your assets, remember that it’s illiquid – if you fall on hard times and need cash, it’s not easy to quickly sell a home – especially in this market – without losing substantial value on your investment.

No, don’t stick your money under a mattress!  Invest in yourself.  Always wanted to be a French Professor?  Take a french class … investing in yourself could eventually pay the biggest dividends.

The Real Debt Threat: Student Loans

Posted on: Sep 27, 2011 by Nicole Lapin | 0 Replies |

Nick Muellerleile graduated from USC in May as a member of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa society. Five months later, he is now living on about $2 per day, which he says he spends on what he says are “luxuries — like food.”

“Luxuries” like basic living expenses are what young people, like Muellerleile, are struggling to afford even though he has what seems like a real “luxury” to most: a job. The national unemployment rate still hovers at around 9 percent, with the biggest portion of that being America’s youth. But we don’t hear as much about the population with the biggest percentage of unemployment: America’s young people.

The number of young people looking for jobs is higher than ever – the unemployment rate for young people is currently upwards of 20 percent. For young African Americans, it jumps to nearly 30 percent.


In case you missed my segment tonight on CNN…

Posted on: Sep 25, 2011 by Nicole Lapin | 0 Replies |

In case you missed my segment tonight on CNN, here are 5 things you should know about market conditions before Wall Street opens back up:

1. The Dow and S&P 500 had their worst week since 2008 last week, but are basically at the same levels as one year ago.

2. Most data fundamentals and corporate numbers are strong, but fear about the Eurozone crisis is the likely X factor bringing down markets. 

3. IMF and World Bank leaders warn that this solvency crisis in Europe could make the 2008 liquidity crisis look like a piece of cake.

4. Gas under $3 could be a short-term good stimulus for US consumer spending. 

5. Gas under $3 could also mean slowing energy demand which is a negative to long-term US consumer confidence and spending.

10 Things (I Think) I’ve Learned

Posted on: Sep 24, 2011 by Nicole Lapin | 0 Replies |

1. If you don’t have cash to tip the valet, say so instead of staring at your heels.

2. Take the bus; it won’t give you hepatitis any faster than a pedicure bath will.

3. Don’t get acrylic nails, they look stupid.

4. You can carry your own purse.

5. Remember your waiter’s name.

6. Don’t forget the names of wines you like.

7. You should only be watching games while drinking, never playing them.

8. Wearing makeup to the gym is tacky.

9. Getting fitted, stylish workout clothes is a good investment.

10. Sweat once a day.

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