For much of the past decade or two, one of the most important qualifications for a "good" mutual fund manager was that he/she keep the fund squarely within the constraints of its Morningstar style box, while hopefully generating some positive alpha. Now, however, an emerging group of managers are overtly bucking the trend, with a new approach of "free range" investing.
In this new column I'm calling "On the nighttable..." I will be highlighting some of the books that I'm reading. Right now, I'm just finishing up a book called "Stabilizing an Unstable Economy" by Hyman Minsky. But the interesting thing is not just that it's another book on stabilizing the economy... it's that Minsky wrote it several decades ago, yet it is nonetheless remarkably prescient about the events of the recent years!
As financial planners, we've all heard the old saw "never put a tax shelter inside of a tax shelter" - in other words, don't buy tax-exempt municipal bonds inside of a tax deferred retirement account like an IRA or Roth IRA.
Well, it seems that "never" may have just arrived. Because in an environment where the outright yield on municipal bonds is better than taxable bonds, it really can be appropriate to own a muni bond inside of an IRA!
The rising price of various commodities, linked in part to the falling dollar, have begun to impact the cost of a broad array of goods in the U.S., from the cost of building construction to gasoline at the pump to food at the grocery store. Now, the decline of the dollar is being felt directly by the U.S. government, with a painful rise in the cost of the penny!
The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) has just released the new maximum conforming loan limits, established pursuant to the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, which will allow homebuyers in several metropolitan areas to obtain conforming loans as large as $729,750, instead of the former limit of only $417,000.Read More...
Last month, the Treasury announced that they were significantly reducing the availability of Series EE and I savings bonds, decreasing the maximum allowable purchase from at $5,000 per Social Security number per year (reduced from $30,000), and the new limits took effect on January 1, 2008!
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