Thu01292015

Business & Real Estate

Is there protection against rising rates?

On top of concerns that the stock market may be highly overvalued right now, investors also have to worry about their bond portfolios.

With interest rates continuing to hover near historic lows, bond investors worry that as rates rise, the value of their bonds will drop. We painfully experienced this effect in May 2013 when interest rates spiked by 0.75 percent in one week after Federal Reserve officials announced that they were thinking of tapering off the Fed’s quantitative easing program. Ten-year bonds dropped more than 7 percent that month, one of the largest monthly drops in a generation.

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How to diversify your company pension plan

If your company pension plan supports a lump-sum distribution when you retire, you will have to decide whether to roll over the pension into an IRA or take it as an annuity (i.e., guaranteed income for life).

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Bulls continue to drive the market

Our friendly bull visited the market again Oct. 31 and stayed active all last week with new highs each day. When the Dow Jones industrial and transportation averages reach all-time highs simultaneously, it reconfirms a bullish trend.

What makes the market look particularly good is the 10-year Treasury yield, presently at 2.32 percent.

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How some spend more than they earn

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about affluent individuals and families who, despite high six-figure salaries, managed to pile up a huge amount of debt. They cited one woman who had accumulated $300,000 in debt despite earning more than $200,000 a year.

Readers’ responses, unsurprisingly, were variously indignant, angry and puzzled. Many couldn’t understand how it’s even possible to spend that much more than one’s income.

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Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your lifetime.

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Is that hedge fund really worth it?

One expert argues that hedge funds are overpriced, nontransparent and provide poor returns over time.

Simon Lack, author of “The Hedge Fund Mirage: The Illusion of Big Money and Why It’s Too Good to Be True” (Wiley, 2012) and previously a member of J.P. Morgan’s hedge fund due-diligence team, spoke at the CFA Institute’s annual conference in Seattle earlier this year. He explained that hedge funds suffer from some of the same problems as actively managed mutual funds. Their managers claim to be able to take advantage of market inefficiencies, improve diversification and provide lower correlations to more traditional investments. But the bigger the funds grow, the harder it becomes to make a difference

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Are Money Market Funds Still Safe? (Part 2)

Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series on money market funds.

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