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Will the Stock Market Crash Again? Print E-mail
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Personal Finance - Investing
Written by Omie Ismail   
Friday, 21 May 2010 05:30
Concerned about the market? Well, you should be. It’s nail-biting time again on Wall Street. The troubles in Europe have spooked the market and with good reason. Once again we are reminded Stock_Marketthat no amount of shell games can change the fact that growth that is driven by excessive debt is not sustainable. Not in your household, not in Greece, and not in America. While it felt good to blast off from the March 2009 trough in the market, we always knew that eventually someone would need to pay the bill. In the U.S. that day of reckoning is some distance away, but the Greek crisis has reminded us that at some point even a massive borrower can get cut off. But does Europe’s problems mean that the market is going to crash or are we just in for a volatile ride? Here’s are some factors that you should consider.
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Profit by Spotting the Consumer Trend Print E-mail
(7 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Personal Finance - Investing
Written by Omie Ismail   

If you've already built a sizable portfolio of index and other diversified mutual funds you probably are looking at buying individual stocks. I'd suggest you first take some time to learn some of the ipadropes and start by reading a few books on the fine art of analyzing securities. Reading up before you take the plunge saves you the expense of paying full tuition at the most expensive school in the world - the stock market.

But once you feel you have the basics down, consider investing in consumer trends.

Consumer trend investing isn't for everyone, but it is one way to get ahead of Wall Street. That's partly because business analysts work seventy hour weeks in Lower Manhattan offices. So they rarely get to see what's actually going on in the rest of the country. If you happen to live in the fly-over-states, you might have a leg up on spotting the "new new thing." All you need is a few astute trendy picks to substantially improve the performance of your portfolio.

A word of caution is in order. This sort of investing comes with a high risk factor. If you bank on the wrong trend, you can lose your shirt - especially if the product you're banking on is made by a company that only makes that one single product.

Read more: Profit by Spotting the Consumer Trend
 
The Worst Companies: Does it Pay to Treat Customers Badly? Print E-mail
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Personal Finance - Investing
Written by Omie Ismail   
Thursday, 29 April 2010 07:41

This month, the pro-consumer website, Consumerist, ran a contest to determine the "Worst Company in America". Much like the NCAA basketball tournament, the champion is picked from a group of companies customer_servicethat compete with each other for the dubious distinction. There are a series five rounds where readers pitch in and vote for which is the worse company in each round. This year the honor went to a real champion - the infamous Comcast which has distinguished itself by escalating their cable charges and having  notoriously terrible technical and customer service. For the record, last year's title went to the money sucking fiasco known as AIG.

Consumerist's readers seem to have a knack for separating really outrageous companies from those that just have a few questionable business practices. For instance, readers singled out Cash4Gold as having "fraudulent" business practices which helped propel it into the "Final Four" trouncing wanna-bees like Best Buy, a company that assaults its customers with it's Geek Squad overrated and overpriced  'Optimization' services.

We decided to run a few numbers on the results of this Consumerist unscientific contest to answer an intriguing question - "do companies that treat their customers like garbage get punished in the stock market?" Here's what we found.

Read more: The Worst Companies: Does it Pay to Treat Customers Badly?
 
How to Save More of the Next Million You Earn Print E-mail
(8 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Personal Finance - Investing
Written by Ahmed Amr   

Every year, you get a statement from the Social Security Administration that lets you know the contributions to your account. Most of us  ignore it, but one of the great things about this statement is that it tells you exactly how much you've earned from your first summer job all Social_Security_Statement_LiveCheapthe way to the most recent W-2 they have on record. And what’s sobering is that when you add it all up, you probably have no idea where all that money went. We're not talking about a few hundred grand, if you are in a dual income family or been working for more than a decade or two, your total earnings might very well be north of a million dollars. But how much of that million plus have you actually saved? Here's how to calculate how much you have earned, where you spent it, and how to keep more of you next million in earnings.

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Strong Hands, Weak Hands: Live Cheap to Be Strong Print E-mail
(5 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)
Personal Finance - Investing
Written by Omie Ismail   
Friday, 05 March 2010 02:29

There are many theories about why markets go up and down and become dramatically overvalued or undervalued. There are cycles of greed followed by fear that often explain the huge Stock Market Investingvariations in valuation. Take for instance the recent boom and collosal bust in housing. While academics tried to explain housing price increases based on demographic factors, we all know that the "jump on the bandwagon" factor and greed had  far more to do with it. And only irrational fear can explain why massive government incentives, low interest rates and decade-low prices have failed to stem the decline in housing prices.

Why are so many people who where frozen out of the housing market during the bubble still sitting on the sidelines rather than doing a few logical calculations on the cost of owning versus renting. One theory I like is what's refered to as the "Strong Hands - Weak Hands" view of the market that became popular during the 1930s stock market crash. If you understand the theory, you'll understand why most of the gibberish that you hear on CNBC and other mass media outlets is dead wrong.

Read more: Strong Hands, Weak Hands: Live Cheap to Be Strong
 
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