Changes at The Social Security Administration

Month: May 2012

May 31, 2012  |  

Changes at The Social Security Administration

Last year the Social Security Administration suspended the mailing of the Annual Benefit Estimate Statements due to federal budget considerations. Recently they resumed sending the Statement, but only to people who are age 60 and older and who are not yet on benefits.  People younger than age 60 will not have a Statement mailed to them. However, in early May, the Social Security Administration set up an online service that allows people age 18 and […]

May 29, 2012  |  

Why You Need a Will

Do you have a will? If not, you have plenty of company.  Recent studies show that 55% of adult Americans lack a will. However, there are compelling reasons to create a will soon. For starters, even though we are living longer, we cannot predict when we will move along. Also, without a will, some of your assets will get tied up in probate and may be distributed in ways you wouldn’t like. What Happens If […]

May 22, 2012  |  

Understanding “Value” Investing

Value stocks or mutual funds comprise a key element in many investors’ portfolios. But what does value mean? What distinguishes value stocks from all others, especially growth stocks? Every value stock has its own story, but the common elements connecting all value stocks relate to price and risk. Price: Value stocks are often referred to as “cheap” or “bargains” – considered by many as buying stocks on “on sale.” Value investing focuses on investing in […]

May 14, 2012  |  

In Search of Higher Returns?

    1.8% That’s all you can expect to earn over the next ten years if you invest in Ten Year US Treasury Notes. Doesn’t seem very attractive to you? You aren’t alone. These days, investors are searching for ways to increase the yield on their portfolios. In the bond market, there are two basic ways to increase yield: Buy lower quality bonds (this is unpalatable to many investors) Buy longer maturity bonds Today, many investors […]

May 4, 2012  |  

Is Past Performance a Reliable Predictor of the Future?

Many investors look at past mutual fund performance when deciding choosing an investment. There is only one problem with this strategy: it doesn’t work reliably. Lets look at the evidence. In the chart below we see that from 2001-2006, there were a total of 557 US large-cap equity funds. One hundred thirty nine of the funds ranked in the top quartile (25%). This means that they had better returns than 75% of the other funds […]