Reuters Money

One man’s retirement crusade to help Detroit and baby boomers


Randal Charlton (REUTERS/handout)Randal Charlton has had a long, colorful career with plenty of ups and downs. In his 71 years, he’s done everything from tending dairy cows for a Saudi sheik to starting a jazz club in Florida. And as a lifelong entrepreneur, he has bought and sold 14 different companies.

Charlton’s last venture was a Detroit-based biotech company called Asterand, which he co-founded and then merged in 2006 with a U.K.-based competitor. He was 67 years old after the deal closed – a time when many would hang up their spikes and take it easy.

Instead, Charlton took on a daunting new challenge: fighting Motor City’s economic blight by building a successful business incubator for entrepreneurs called TechTown. Charlton raised $24 million from foundations and government, gathered together an impressive array of resources for training and start-up funding and recruited a small army of start-ups that have created a total of more than 1,800 local jobs.

TechTown is located in an old five-floor automotive plant with 130,000 square feet. When Charlton took over, just one floor was built out, and the center was running on loans guaranteed by nearby Wayne State University. Since then, the incubator has been home to 250 companies, and more than 2,200 entrepreneurs have graduated from its training programs. Last year, 14 TechTown companies received capital infusions totaling more than $1.35 million. The incubator has invested $700,000 directly in early-stage businesses and helped clients raise $14 million in follow-on funding.

With few female angel investors, signs of change


In the traditionally male world of angel investing, Ed Reitler is used to having his voice heard. A partner in Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt LLC of New York City, he’s also the founder of the ARC Angel Fund, a New York-based investing launched in 2010. So when he says that it’s “incredibly important” to develop female angel investors because “they are crucial to ensuring the funding of a more diverse group of companies,” you’d hope his male counterparts would take notice.

After all, Reitler’s got a point. A 2006 report by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation on women and angel investing concluded that “women entrepreneurs gravitate to women angels,” and that those benefactors “look at more women’s start-up businesses than some of the more traditional [male] groups do.”

Meditations on money mania: Why we gorge on the financial buffet


Are you a money maniac? While finishing up Michael Lewis’s “Boomerang,” his latest book on the financial meltdown, I was intrigued by a few of his observations on a cultural and psychological malady.

Since some of my academic training is in psychology, I’ll take a stab at what I think is going on. We spend (and eat) too much because the culture encourages it at every turn, but we have the ability to resist temptation. We’re hardwired to do the wrong thing, yet can still make rational decisions.

Recent sell-off sets up next gold rally


The following is a guest post by Lawrence Carrel, author of “ETFs for the Long Run” and “Dividend Stocks for Dummies.” The opinions expressed are his own.  Full disclosure: The author has had 7 percent of his personal retirement account in a gold ETF for the past four years.

When the price of gold plunged 20 percent last month, many market watchers declared the gold boom over. Stalled, yes; ended, no, according to many gold analysts, who believe the precious metal may instead be near a new sustained rally.

Big banks want your big bucks, but you have other options


Big banks just don’t want to sweat the small stuff.

Despite receiving some $4.7 trillion in taxpayer bailout funds, the largest of them are moving more towards wealthy customers with assets to invest and away from low-margin checking accounts. That doesn’t mean you should invest with them, though.

The banks side of things is that that want well-heeled wealth management or brokerage clients, not people who are writing small checks to pay bills. For instance, Bank of America, which recently announced a $5-a-month debit-card fee, said about two weeks later that it was planning to nearly double the number of “Financial Solutions Advisors” for its mass affluent clients.

5 tips to surviving a bear market


Do you need a special kind of financial adviser to deal with a bear market?

Few will debate that the months ahead will be challenging, and that the extreme market volatility will continue. There are a number of steps you can take with your adviser — or on your own — to weather these changes.

The first thing to consider is that the cards are lining up for the U.S. and European economies to backslide into recession. The Economic Cycle Research Institute is calling for two quarters of negative growth. The European sovereign debt crisis is like a wounded beast. The Federal Reserve doesn’t seem to be able to help, despite lowering short and long-term interest rates.

Target date funds get better and bigger, report finds


Target date funds are getting better – and that’s good news, because they’re also becoming the 800-pound gorilla of the workplace retirement saving scene.

The use of these funds, which invest in a mix of assets with the aim of reducing equity exposure as participants approach retirement, has accelerated sharply in recent years, due in large measure to the growth of auto-enrollment options in workplace plans.

Educated and affluent = potential investing fraud victim


If you’re well-educated and affluent does that make you invulnerable to fraud? Hardly. If you’re willing to make high-risk investments to get high-return, there’s not only a target on your back, but experts say your personality types makes you susceptible to be taken.

“Most of us think of ourselves as invulnerable,” says Shoshana Lucich, of the recently opened Stanford University-based Research Center on the Prevention of Financial Fraud.

Tactical asset allocation might become your new normal


Market volatility is like a headache that hangs on. The cure may lie in shifting your mind from keenly focusing on risk instead of returns.

For many, this is an obvious no brainer, but it involves much more than simply shifting into cash, bonds or gold. What if you don’t want to exit stocks entirely? Then you may need what money managers call tactical asset allocation.

5 ways to make a bond ladder work for you

Photo mention of bond laddering often makes one think of retirees sitting on the sidelines of the market, buying individual bonds with staggered maturities to goose up their yields, but lately it’s not such a doddering strategy.

With bond yields low, savings account interest rates microscopic and stock volatility scary, younger investors and even college savers are starting to embrace the time-honored laddering strategy. If can work for people who don’t want to lock up all of their money in long-term investments but want more yield than they can typically get in short-term savings vehicles.