WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some stories just seem to end up in the cosmic consciousness: blogged, tweeted and talked about in many different places at the same time. Right now, one of those story lines involves the big smackdown between traditional mutual funds and ETFs.
Several analysts have raised the idea that traditional mutual funds are dying and the future belongs to ETFs, which look like index funds but trade like stocks.
Underlying those investments are a couple of core beliefs: (1) That China, India and other growing powerhouses will continue to deliver big returns to investors; and (2) That smart portfolio managers can suss out the best stocks in this space, justifying the higher costs of active management.
Between 2007 and 2009, an additional 2,700 spas (including day spas, destination spas, medi-spas and more) opened in the U.S., bringing the total to 20,600, according to data gathered by PriceWaterhouseCoopers for the International Spa Association.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For decades, variable annuities have had a bad rap, dissed as fee-laden, overly expensive and “not bought but sold” to unsophisticated investors by commission-hungry brokers.
That was enough to turn off fee-only advisers who under a fiduciary standard of care must find the lowest-cost, best financial products for their clients.
WASHINGTON, June 8 (Reuters) – Sometimes, off-the-rack is
just what you need, especially when it comes to basic,
plain-vanilla investment portfolios.
It’s not like every pre-retiree has to reinvent the wheel
when it comes to assembling an investment plan; there’s wide
agreement about what that plan looks like. It’s a mix of stocks
and bonds, acquired at low cost, that is rebalanced regularly.
It tilts toward stocks when workers are younger and moves
toward bonds as they age.
But, as I report in my Stern Advice column today, they aren’t all created alike. Some offer advice and others don’t. Some cost more than others. You won’t know the players without a scorecard.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Well, the world didn’t end on May 21, as some had predicted.
And the sky won’t fall when the Federal Reserve stops its quantitative-easing program, or QE2, according to many financial professionals.
True confessions: I live in a bubble. Washington, D.C., the area I call home, appears to be one of the only two places in the country (the other being Seattle) where real estate is doing very well, thank you. So around me, I see home prices stable and rising, and houses getting sold within days of going on the market.
That’s not the case in most of the country, where home prices on average fell 0.8 percent in March, according to the S&P/Case Shiller survey released this morning. “Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight,” David Blitzer of S&P, said in a statement. Home prices are at their lowest post-crash levels, with some areas retracing all the way back to 2002 levels.
A weak job market for college and high-school graduates is continuing to drive young adults back into the households and onto the payrolls of their parents, a variety of surveys have confirmed.
Almost 60 percent of parents with non-student children between the ages of 18 and 39 have been helping their kids, according to a survey being released today by the National Endowment of Financial Education. A study released last month by Monster.com found that more than half of all recent grads are living with their parents. And as much as 85 percent of the Class of 2011 expect to move back home, at least for a while, according to a study by market research firm Twentysomething Inc.
That may sound like a wild idea, especially in an era when policymakers are talking about privatizing Medicare. But it has advocates within the retirement industry. The upside, according to Martha Tejera, a veteran retirement plan consultant, is that retirees who bought annuities guaranteed by Uncle Sam would feel like their retirement funds were secure. They wouldn’t have to worry about managing their own nest egg, running out of money, or handing their funds over to a Madoff-style crook.