For my sanity’s sake, I sure hope the markets can pull together a small rally in the next three weeks. If not, the first quarter of 2008 is going to be showing some disturbing numbers. I thought it was bad enough back in January when our fourth quarter statements were mailed and people were concerned about a 3-4% drop, but here we are in 2008 where a typical loss is sitting around 10-11%– and we still have three weeks to go.
If these people open up their statements and are staring at a 10% loss or more, my phone is going to be ringing off the hook and hundreds of people will be bailing out into the fixed account. This is always a hard conversation to have, because I know they understand the fact that they probably have 10-20 years left until retirement and that things will turn around, but when they see the actual dollars lost in their account, sound judgment goes out the window.
So, in hopes of better times ahead, here are some great articles from the past week.
Making the Most of Your Tax Refund – It’s that time of year again, and many people are anticipating a nice tax refund. Combine that with the upcoming rebate checks, and you could put a serious dent in one of your financial goals.
Who’s to Blame for the Subprime Mortgage Mess? – Lenders? Borrowers? Investors? There is plenty of blame to go around, and this is a fair and balanced look at most of the parties involved.
Robert Kiyosaki Recommends You Invest in Silver Coins – Seriously? I know the K-man has been crazy enough to steer people away from investing in the market and mutual funds, but now he’s recommending silver coins? I do think precious metals should make up a portion of your portfolio for diversification purposes, but to suggest that people run out and buy silver coins because of a troubled market is just foolhardy.
What is Social Capital? – A basic definition refers to it as connections within and between social networks. But, Lazy Man digs a little deeper into the meaning and points out some interesting examples at work.
Is the 401k a Bad Deal? – Wow, there are actually people and books out there telling people that this is the case. In some rare scenarios, this may be true, but for the mast majority of people, the 401k is one of the best options for saving and investing.
Platinum is Surging, but Why no ETF? – Where was Bobby Kiyosaki on this one? If he knows good investments, he should have saw this explosive precious metal taking off. Interestingly enough, there are no Platinum ETFs, and the Sun explains why.
Getting Real About Personal Finance – What was your turning point? When did you finally realize that you had to make changes and take your finances seriously? Millionaire Money Habits shares his personal story.
Outsourcing Your Taxes – Is it Worth it? – This is a question I grappled with this year. With more side income and more tax liabilities, I seriously considered paying to have them prepared for me. But after doing them on my own, I found that it would cost me $100-$200 more, and in looking at any possible deductions, the most I’d expect to save is maybe equal to the cost. So, this year it was a wash.
Do Your Bank Transactions Silently – This is one reason I always go into the bank and never use the drive-up windows. Not only may people be able to hear your transaction outside, but inside the branch as well. Plus, it usually doesn’t save any time to use the window, so why not just walk inside.
The Safest Banks – ING is Best – If you’re concerned about the safety of your money, transaction, and personal data, you may want to check this out. Sometimes there is more to banking than interest rates alone.
The Personal Finance Wiki – Mrs. Micah has gone through the incredible effort of consolidating many of the personal finance blogs into one wiki. If you’re looking for a collection of sites, or want to add your own, be sure to check out the Finwikian.
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Filed Under: Friday Finance Findings
About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.