5 abnormal-yet-profitable strategies for 2011

December 29, 2010

A traders works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange March 25, 2009.My theme for 2011 is how to be abnormal, which is a new geeky independence that ignores the markets. Stop following the crowd and tend to your portfolio and life goals. Ignore what’s being bloviated on the business channels.

Is your 401(k) plan ripping you off?

December 27, 2010

MIT Sloan Fellows participate in a simulated stock market during classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, MassachusettsFor most of us, a 401(k) is like a big rock that we don’t want to turn over. We’re afraid of what may be skittering out when we do.

Getting the best return on life

December 23, 2010

A Haitian family walks on a street in the town of Jeremi in Haiti January 7, 2007. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz I was in a homeless shelter recently with my daughters and neighbors serving a hot meal to some folks who didn’t have a roof over their heads.

Year-end tip: How to get an insurance deal

December 20, 2010

A woman poses for a portrait at her home in Boston, Massachusetts November 18, 2010. I doubt if many year-end checklists include the item “insurance policy review.” It’s about as exciting as road salt.

Catapult the U.S. tax code from the Middle Ages

December 17, 2010

The dome of the US Capitol, where President Barack Obama will deliver his first address to a joint session of congress, is visible through a window on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 24, 2009.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  The new tax bill just passed by Congress added a few more turrets to a hopelessly medieval fortress.

The year’s best and worst ETFs

December 14, 2010

Dealers work on the trading floor at IG Index in London May 10, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne PlunkettThe best investments often don’t have the highest returns. I know this is heresy to most, yet mass behavior can be a siren song.

Cut the government’s home modification program

December 10, 2010

A house for sale is pictured in Alexandria, Virginia March 22, 2010. REUTERS/Molly Riley The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) should be scrapped. It was flawed from the beginning and is not going to get much better in helping people keep their homes. It’s time to start over.

Is there a screaming buyer’s market in distressed homes?

December 6, 2010

USA-HOUSING/INVESTORSReady to hurdle back into the housing market? There hasn’t been a greater inventory of distressed homes in recent memory, so you will find some deals.

Deficit cutting need not be cruel

December 2, 2010

SPAIN-ECONOMY/Congress needn’t be cruel to be kind in cutting the U.S. budget deficit while saving popular programs like Social Security and Medicare.