Are your cognitive abilities declining with age?

There is increasing evidence that as we age, cognitive decline is natural and inevitable. The brain, like the rest of the body, loses its ability to respond quickly and precisely over time.

Michael Finke and Sandra Huston of Texas Tech University and John Howe of the University of Missouri recently updated a study titled “Old Age and the Decline in Financial Literacy.”

Recollections of decades in biz

courtesy of Margo Moritz/Green Ivy Educational Consulting
Ana Homayoun, standing, has worked with students at Green Ivy Educational Consulting for nearly 15 years.

My family and I moved to Los Altos in the early 1990s, just in time for me to start my seventh-grade year at Egan Junior High.

I remember how cool it was to be able to head to downtown with friends on early-dismissal days. By the eighth grade, I would sometimes wait at the bus stop at the corner of San Antonio Road and West Portola Avenue and head downtown or to the library after school. By high school, I spent hours after school and during the summer months working at different downtown businesses.

Is it OK to tap your 401(k) for a child’s college expenses?

Many parents take the view that supporting their children is their No. 1 priority. That’s admirable from a family standpoint but may not be optimal from a financial one.

Nowhere does this have bigger consequences than with college expenses. A common question I encounter is whether or not it’s possible to withdraw funds from a 401(k) for your child’s college expenses. In fact, you can use a 401(k) to pay for college. But remember the adage: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Does investment diversification still work after the 2008 crash?

A cornerstone of modern portfolio theory is the concept that you can reduce the risk of an investment portfolio by adding securities whose performance does not correlate with those in the portfolio.

Research studies confirmed that the diversification in an investment portfolio explained more than 90 percent of the variability in portfolio returns from year to year. That makes sense intuitively: When some asset-class returns turn negative in a given year, returns from other asset classes can potentially be positive, mitigating the losses.

Market conditions slow as pending home sales rise

MEGAN WINSLOW/town crier
More houses and townhomes are on the market – like this home listed by Sereno Group near downtown Los Altos. According to the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, 29 percent of homes sold for above asking price in August.

Realtors responding to the California Association of Realtors August Market Pulse Survey report a slowing down of most leading indicators of overall market conditions, such as a decline in floor calls, listing appointments and open-house traffic.

The survey revealed that the share of homes selling above asking price rose to 29 percent in August, up from 27 percent a year ago. The share of properties selling below asking price dropped from 48 percent in August 2015 to 41 percent. The remaining 30 percent sold at asking price, up from 25 percent in the same period last year.

How the early use of big data made a mutual fund's trillions

It was 40 years ago last month that Jack Bogle and his new firm The Vanguard Group launched First Index Investment Trust, the world’s first index mutual fund available to retail investors. Looking back on it today, you’d probably be surprised at just how difficult the effort turned out to be.

Not only did it take him two years to get the fund launched, as Bogle writes in an article in the Journal of Index Investing, its initial public offering flopped. It took several years of poor performance for the fund, later renamed Vanguard 500 Index Fund, to grow.

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