July 2009

How to be a better employee

Posted by on July 30, 2009 in Jobs

The interesting thing about hiring new employees, such as my situation,  is that you have to re-emphasis what you are looking for in your new hires. As an employer, you tend to take for granted certain things about long-standing employees.  For younger workers, there is a dual challenge of figuring out how to make yourself [...]

Is your financial advisor worth $600 per hour?

Posted by on July 29, 2009 in Investment Information

Larry MacDonald recently joined the growing chorus of writers who wonder why anyone would want to use an investment or financial advisor.  Certainly, in some contexts, people do need professional financial advice and I have always believed even the most sophisticated and stubborn DIY investors require financial advice from time to time, paid on an [...]

How long should you own a home for?

Posted by on July 28, 2009 in Real Estate

Imagine if you will that you have an opportunity to purchase a home for the first time but had to sell it in 2 years. Would you become a home buyer if your exit time-frame was that short? My vote would be no. First and foremost is the fact there are several hidden costs to [...]

How to invest in insurance companies

Posted by on July 27, 2009 in How to invest series

Insurance is often described as banking without money given it engages in a risk management business model using other people’s money. In normal times, insurance companies are stodgy widow and orphan stocks returning a modest return but with a level of safety. For example, using the period of 1993-2003 (i.e. pre-bubble), the S & P [...]

Is gold a good long-term investment?

Posted by on July 23, 2009 in Investment Products, Investment Strategy

The price of gold and its perception as an investment by bloggers seems to have an inverse relationship. As the price of gold rises, bloggers seem less enthusiastic about gold as an investment. Why such a negative attitude about something going up in price? Gold, unlike silver or copper, has no industrial usage. In fact, [...]

Is Japan’s lost decade a valid comparison?

Posted by on July 22, 2009 in Misc.

Japan’s lost decade of 1991-2000 is often cited as a situation that American policy-makers hope to avoid. In an eerily  similar repeat of history, the Japanese real estate bubble burst followed shortly thereafter by a banking collapse. Governments tried to stimulate the economy by lowering interest rates to near zero or zero percent (although they [...]

Is a vacation property or cottage for you?

Posted by on July 21, 2009 in Real Estate

Undoubtedly, some of you are spending your summer in a lake-side cottage, a golf-course resort or somewhere exotic. You may wonder to yourself, while you are lounging in the sun, what it would be like to purchase a 2nd home or vacation property if you don’t own already (I am going to use the terms [...]

Personal finance blogs vs. mainstream media

Posted by on July 20, 2009 in editorials, Investment Information

Weakonomics recently took to task a  television personality for disparaging personal finance blogs and bloggers. His post highlights one of the tensions of our web 2.0 world: the divide between bloggers and the mainstream media. Earlier in the spring, a sports blogger made some wild accusations about a baseball player using performance enhancing drugs; many [...]

Insurance: 5 warning signs you may have improper insurance

Posted by on July 16, 2009 in insurance

Insurance is the transfer of risk from one party to another. In consideration of  monetary payment by the insured, the insurer promises to pay compensation based on some future risk/loss, such as disability or death, to a designated party. In and of itself, the concept of insurance is great. Who does not want a risk [...]

Is Goldman Sachs a sign of things to come or back to the future?

Posted by on July 15, 2009 in Misc.

Goldman Sachs announced the best quarter of its 140 year existence yesterday. Normally, this type of news would be viewed quite positively as a sign that the financial industry is turning around and the recovery is fast approaching. But how it made this money has a lot of observers worried that the street truly has [...]