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Alternatives: Yes/No?

Submitted by David Gratke on Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 12:00pm

Using alternative investments, beyond the usual stalwarts of stocks and bonds, is a good way to diversify. Not foolproof, mind you. They can disappoint you big-time. Here’s a guide to figure out their pros and cons.

Overinflated, bubble, imminent crash: Not words you want to hear when your money’s mostly in Wall Street stocks and bonds. If you look to diversify without sacrificing returns, the good news is that you literally do have alternatives.

Avoid Cash Droughts

Submitted by Dan Crimmins on Friday, February 26, 2016 - 9:00am

In New Jersey, where I live, droughts – are an annual event for us. Thankfully we haven’t seen a similar drought in the stock market for several years. You need to plan for either kind of dry-up, whether as a gardener trying to save azaleas or an investor hoping to avoid total repair of your portfolio.

Simplicity Drawbacks: Target Funds

Submitted by Jason Lina on Monday, February 22, 2016 - 9:00am

My toddler son spends long stretches every day hitting a foam golf ball around the yard; occasionally we visit a local pitch-putt course where he brings just his putter and his driver clubs. This simplistic approach to the game has drawbacks, of course, and in that way parallels a popular investment vehicle: the target date mutual fund.

Cash is King-Usually

Submitted by Ray Ferarra on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 9:00am

Cold, hard cash has a certain cache. A hoard of it allows people to do big things, whether wise or foolish. A lack of it causes pain, often widespread pain. Nevertheless, in this age of cyber-security breaches, cash has an advantage over other forms of payment.

Here’s a look at the pluses and minuses of cash in our economy today:

1. Bountiful corporate cash propels mergers and aids the stock market. But in the long run, it could lead to bad deals that crash and burn.

Powerful Investing Basics

Submitted by Gary Brooks on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 12:00pm

Your financial planning and investment management often require solutions unique to you. Several key tenets of personal finance require no customizing, though. If you can follow these principles, you enjoy a better chance of financial security.

Understand your financial goal and work backward to define how much planning, money and time you need to achieve it. Figuring out where you want to be makes for a better route than letting whatever money you end up with determine how you live then.

Mortgage vs. Investing

Submitted by Jason Lina on Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 9:00am

Should you invest with your spare cash or pay off your mortgage early? As with most financial planning decisions, the answer is not black and white.

One of the most common questions facing families is whether to accelerate mortgage payments or to borrow as much as possible, make minimum debt payments and save for retirement.

In a world without emotional or behavioral biases where we all rationally evaluate the economics and make choices based on probability-weighted outcomes, the math points to investing over debt elimination.

3 Legends' Advice

Submitted by Eve Kaplan on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 9:00am

Follow investment gurus to avoid investment mistakes. When things seem unsettled, a trio of these savants offer timeless advice you should heed.

Such words of wisdom are especially appropriate amid current turbulent circumstances: a rocky bond market that perhaps signals the end of a 30-year bull run, U.S. stocks recently hitting new highs, troubling overseas developments such as Syria’s civil war and the ongoing fight in Congress.

On the other hand, the variables change, but crises and problems always occur and always (at least temporarily) affect markets.

Curbing Emotions During Volatility

Submitted by Nicholas Atkeson and Andrew Houghton on Friday, January 8, 2016 - 9:00am

Sure you’re emotional. Everybody is, especially these days with severe market volatility. But when it comes to managing your investment portfolio, your emotion can be a treacherous – and costly – villain.

If you’re like many investors, you like to watch or read the news to stay current on the market. Trouble is, reports are sometimes overstated (not to mention loud), the best if not only way to entice worry-prone eyeballs in our age of media saturation. You watch and you naturally react, wanting to catch the latest rise or bail out of the latest dive.

Resolutions '16: Think Long Term

Submitted by Jason Lina on Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 9:00am

Market turbulence tempts impatient investors to do foolish things. Trouble is, too many of us are hard-wired to opt for instant gratification and forsake long-term strategies – as the famous marshmallow experiment shows.

Anyone who attended summer camp as a kid likely equates marshmallows with the fundamental ingredient in making s’mores. When a psychologist hears the word marshmallow, however, the first thought goes beyond a taste treat to the question of delayed gratification – and the difficulty to attaining it.

Morality and Investing

Submitted by Trent E. May on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 12:00pm

How do you find out if your investments help a company or cause you detest – and what can do about it?

If you’re like most investors who hold any sort of diversified retirement plan, you surely invest in a multitude of different companies, many you probably recognize and some you don’t. Few investors ever think about what those companies support – whether in terms of politics, religion or any other highly personal concern.