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Passive Investing Protection with Options Collars

by Guest Contributor on September 29, 2009

This is a guest post written by Mark Wolfinger of the investing blog Options for Rookies. Mark grew up in Brooklyn and in an earlier life, earned a PhD (chemistry) from Northwestern. After several years as a research chemist, in Dec 1976 he moved to Chicago to trade options. Over the next 23 years, he was primarily a CBOE market maker, but also worked as a risk manager, and coached new traders. He left the CBOE in 2000 and began a career as an educator. He’s published three books and numerous magazine articles.

Mark recently authored The Rookie’s Guide to Options and he approached me with a novel guest post idea. You don’t normally associate options with passive investing but he is going to explain how you can use options, specifically collars, to protect yourself when passive investing.

Let’s begin by agreeing:

  • a) Passive investing beats active investing – for all but the few talented traders who consistently outperform the markets. Let’s also agree that none of us is a member of that elite group.
  • b) The rules: allocate assets, diversify, buy and hold, don’t panic by selling into market declines etc. These are the most commonly used methods to minimize investment risk. They are constantly repeated by journalists, bloggers, brokers, financial planners and financial advisors.

Should most of us follow this advice with confidence? Do we save a portion of each paycheck, invest passively, and confidently accept whatever happens?

I vote ‘no.’

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How to Eat Healthy on $10 a Day

by Guest Contributor on September 08, 2009

This is a guest post from Vic Magary of GymJunkies.com. Vic helps everyday people like you to build muscle and lose fat with short, but intense circuit training and strength training workouts

Eating on a budget is no easy task. You could eat at Mcdonald’s 3 times a day and probably stay under $10 but is that really want you want to do? You’d feel awful, your productivity would go way down and chances are you medical bills would go up.

The best way to eat on a budget, at $10 or so per day per person, is to employ a few of the “sneaky” strategies I use when picking up my own groceries. Here’s a few of my favorite ways to eat healthy on a budget.

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How to Enjoy a Tax Free Vacation

by Guest Contributor on August 06, 2009

Web 2.0 Summit ConferenceOne of the reasons I am called the “Wandering” Tax Pro is because once the tax filing season ends I enjoy travel via all methods – car, bus, plane, ship and train (not necessarily in that order). In the days before my uncle went to his final audit, I would pack my bags and we would embark on a transatlantic crossing, often on the QE2. We would also visit the Caribbean or take a train trip in the fall. Unfortunately, none of these trips were tax deductible for a tax accountant or a retiree.

However, my annual travel itinerary would also include two totally tax-deductible domestic vacations. I would attend the National Conference of the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) and the Annual Convention of the National Society of Tax Professionals (NSTP), held each year in a different US city. I have visited Anaheim, Atlanta, Arlington, Alexandria, Boston, Corpus Christi, Minneapolis, Orlando, Sans Antonio, Diego and Francisco, Washington DC, and other locations as a registrant of these two annual events, and deducted every penny of my hotel, meal and travel expenses.

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How to Get Ripped for Free Without a Gym

by Guest Contributor on August 04, 2009

Editor’s Note: I met one of the guys behind GymJunkies.com out at a conference earlier this year. I thought it would be great if they were able to put together a guest post where they explained how you could get a good workout without spending much, or any, money at all. Here’s a guest post on how you can get in shape without the help, or membership costs, of a gym.

This is a guest post from Vic Magary of GymJunkies.com . Vic does some pretty crazy workouts and shows you how to lose fat with high intensity circuit training.

I’m fond of saying “getting in shape is simple, but simple doesn’t always mean easy”…

While most trainers and diet pill companies are promising you an overnight fix or a magic bullet, I prescribe a different medication – short, but intense workouts coupled with a straightforward nutrition plan (none of that calorie counting bullshit). You’ll start to see results in seven days. By the end of 31 days, family members might not even recognize you :)

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Mortgage Options for Military Veterans

by Guest Contributor on July 26, 2009

The beginning of July marked a new chapter in the ongoing Iraq war, as the U.S. withdrew combat troops from the war-torn nation’s cities. The withdrawal is part of a multi-step drawdown of U.S. forces that is expected to culminate in 2011 with the exodus of all American soldiers from Iraq.

In the months ahead, scores of U.S. soldiers will prepare to return home and reestablish their lives. For many returning veterans, adjusting to the financial and social rigors of everyday life can prove a significant challenge. A study released last spring by the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department chronicled the hardships that can confront veterans, from unemployment to low wages.

Soldiers are returning home to an economy in flux, including a severely hardened credit market. Checking credit scores and building a path toward maintaining good credit will likely rank among the chief responsibilities for many. Military agencies and communities across the country offer free financial counseling for active duty servicemen and women and veterans.

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How To Make Smart Tax-Advantaged Investment Decisions

by Guest Contributor on May 13, 2009

You can avoid costly mistakes if you understand the difference between tax-advantaged investments and tax-advantaged accounts.

What are tax-advantaged investments? Investments that people make specifically because of the tax advantages they provide are referred to as tax-advantaged investments. In fact, if not for the tax advantages, most people would not buy those particular investments. Tax-free bonds, fixed and variable annuities are examples.

Mutual funds offer tax benefits but they are not generally considered tax-advantaged because people don’t buy them specifically for the tax benefits. Real estate also has tax advantages but is also not generally included in this category. What’s important to keep in mind is that these investments have tax advantages regardless of what account you hold them in.

What are tax-advantaged accounts? Retirement accounts are tax-advantaged. Examples are IRA’s, 401(k)s, SEP IRA’s, ROTH IRAs etc. What’s critical to understand is that you can buy any investment you like within these accounts and the returns are tax-advantaged. The tax benefits don’t depend on the investments you make within these accounts.

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Take Control of Your Financial Situation

by Guest Contributor on May 13, 2009

This article is part of the series, The Summer of George- The Most Productive Summer a College Student Will Ever Have.

Do you think that you don’t earn enough money have to worry about managing your finances? If so you are dead wrong. If you get into the habit of properly managing your finances at an early age then these habits will hopefully follow you into your 30s and so on. Let this summer be known as the time where you finally took control of your financial situation.

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When Is The Right Time To Have Children?

by Guest Contributor on April 28, 2009

Baby with an iPodThis is a guest post from Cathy, who writes about family finances, parenting and cooking at Chief Family Officer.

The short answer to this question is that there is no right time. But, there are a lot of things to consider when deciding whether to have children, and many of them are financial. Here are some things to think about when you’re making that big decision:

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