Will the Current European Economy Affect Your Investment Portfolio?

European Economy

-+*Collectively, the European Union (EU) has the largest economy in the world as measured by gross domestic product (GDP). Last year the total value of all goods and services produced within the 28-member EU totaled 14.3 trillion euros, according to the International Monetary Fund.[1] But the European economy has been languishing, and due to its… Read More


How Bond Market Investors Cope in a Low-Rate Environment

Bonds

-+*It’s understandable that bond market investors might be frustrated at this point in time. Most already have lower total return expectations than stock market investors, which they accept in exchange for lower overall levels of risk and regular interest payments. However, the total return expectations within the bond market have become so low that investors… Read More


Oil, Markets, Volatility

Oil, Markets, Volatility

David R. Kotok

-+*Sharply lower oil prices have occasioned a huge discussion about their impact. We see it play out daily in newspapers, on TV and radio, at websites, on blogs, and in market letters. The range of forecasts runs from one extreme to another. On one side, pundits predict a recession resulting from a US energy sector… Read More


Is the Fed Really “Stealing from Savers”?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Geoff Considine

-+*In a recent article on MarketWatch, Chris Martenson asserts that the Fed’s low interest rate policy and quantitative easing in recent years is deliberately stealing from savers. This article has elicited a big response, with almost 800 comments and almost 2000 likes on Facebook. The key point of the article is that the Fed’s policy… Read More


How Much am I Paying in Investment Expenses?

Abstract Business Tip of the Dollar Iceberg.

Geoff Considine

-+*This is the seventh installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health. In my experience, I’ve found that many people have no idea how much they’re paying for the privilege of investing. And survey data supports my observations. Ignorance is not bliss. Analysis of investment expenses suggests that many people… Read More


Is My Portfolio at the Right Risk Level?

Return and risk balance concept

Geoff Considine

-+*This is the fifth installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health. At every stage of investing, you should periodically ask yourself how much risk you can realistically tolerate. The primary way to measure the risk level of your portfolio is to look at its allocation of stocks vs. bonds. … Read More


Am I Better Off Investing or Paying Down Debt?

paying-bills

Geoff Considine

-+*This is the fourth installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health. A common dilemma in personal finance is whether to use funds to pay down debt faster or to invest more. The question crops up in various forms: Should I pay off all credit card debt or make smaller… Read More


Am I Saving Enough to Reach My Goals?

Businessman using tablet computer

Geoff Considine

-+*This is the second installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health. The starting point for any discussion of a household’s financial health is to evaluate current savings and savings rates in the context of financial goals.  The three largest expenses that most families will face are buying a home,… Read More


How Am I Doing? An 8-Point Financial Checklist

investment-performance

Geoff Considine

-+*A question that nags at many people is whether they are on track financially.  Even an average financial life can seem remarkably complex.  How does anyone know whether he or she is doing the right things?  A range of studies on how people manage their money suggests that many, if not the majority, are making… Read More