Investing Column

I am not an investing expert but that doesn’t stop me from writing about it! :) In these posts I’ll discuss investing principles, ideas, and comment on current events as they happen. The investments themselves could be in the stock market, real estate, or potential small businesses or franchises… basically anything that could help increase one’s cash flow.


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 Investing 
3
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Should you invest in Bitcoins or are they just Beanie Babies for nerds?

Should you invest in bitcoins are or they just like these beanie babies?If you’ve never heard of Bitcoin, you probably will soon. Bitcoin is an electronic currency beloved by technology enthusiasts and privacy advocates that happens to be prone to sudden, huge run-ups in value.

The currency can be used to make purchases at a few online and brick-and-mortar stores — as well as the vast online black market of which the recently busted Silk Road was a part.

But what it’s mostly good for right now is speculating.

Three months ago, a single bitcoin would get you $121 on the open market. Yesterday it closed at $600, reaching an all-time midday high of $901. As you can imagine, speculators have been having a field day with Bitcoin, and some early adopters have quickly become very rich.
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 Investing 
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Should you invest like a girl? Women investors may have natural advantages

Women investors may have some natural advantages over their male counterpartsLike almost every other aspect of a person’s life, gender exerts a powerful influence over the way we invest and the ultimately, the returns we achieve.

Numerous studies,  including one performed at UC Davis, indicate that “boys will be boys” when it comes to overconfidence in their abilities. On the other hand, women are more likely to make investing decisions that benefit them in the long run, although many women could stand to take on a little more risk.
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 Investing 
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How a debt ceiling crisis and U.S. default would annihilate your 401(k)

If you own stocks and the U.S. breaches the debt ceiling, you're gonna have a bad timeIf you’ve been tuning out the dire warnings coming from economists and politicians about a possible debt ceiling crisis, I can’t really blame you. Politicians in particular spend a lot of time stirring up public fear about supposedly imminent but ultimately nonexistent crises in order to push their policy agenda (“the domino theory,” “death panels,” etc.).

But I believe a failure to raise the debt ceiling, and the default of Treasury debt it would trigger, would have real and seriously crappy consequences, particularly for all the people invested in the stock market through their retirement plans.


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 Investing 
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Are your genes influencing your investing decisions?

Is your DNA influencing your finances?We hear a lot about money personalities, and how they influence our financial decisions. But why do you have the money personality that shows through in your life? What’s behind it? The answer might be in your genes.

When it comes to the decisions you make with regard to financial risk, research shows that your genetic makeup can be a big influence.

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 Investing, Retirement 
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How to choose between a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k)

401KIt’s been several years since the Roth 401(k) was introduced to the American retirement scene. As this retirement planning option has become more well-known, and as more employers offer the Roth version of the venerable 401(k), more workers are faced with making a decision about which is more likely to help them reach their retirement goals.

If your employer offers access to a Roth 401(k), it makes sense to rethink your retirement contribution plan. Here’s how to decide which type of 401(k) to use for your retirement investment.


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 Investing 
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4 ways to be an easy mark for investor fraud

Don't be like FryGrowing your wealth through sensible investing can seem like an agonizingly slow process sometimes. Even in a great year when the stock market returns 15 percent, it takes a whole year to make $1,500 on a $10,000 investment. Toss in there years where the markets show flat or negative returns, and it can sometimes feel like you’re stuck on a treadmill.

That’s probably why promising huge, guaranteed returns with no plans to ever actually return peoples’ money continues to be such a great business in the U.S.; more than $20 billion was stolen through investor fraud in 2011 and 2012, according to estimates from the Department of Justice.


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 Investing 
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1 question to transform your finances

Pitcher of beer? Doesn't produce cash flowsTalking to Bankrate’s senior financial analyst Greg McBride about investing in gold one day, I asked him why he thought gold was, in general, not a great place for normal people to put their money. His reply was something like, “It’s metal. It doesn’t produce cash flows.”

Later I thought, why not apply that to everything?


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 Investing 
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What’s all this taper talk? — Updated

No tapir today

If you follow any finance nerds on Twitter or watch CNBC, it’s going to be hard to avoid hearing the word “taper” today. But what the heck is it?

“The taper” is the label the financial press and the markets have slapped the Federal Reserve’s decision to start slowing down their massive purchases of long-term government debt and investments backed by mortgages, whenever it finally comes down. The reason they call it that is the Fed’s purchases are likely to taper off gradually, rather than be cut off suddenly, which would definitely harm the economy at this point.

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