MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics
5 Reasons Stock Market Volatility Makes You a Smart Long-Term Investor
Mark Zaifman   |    Mon, Oct 20, 2014 @ 05:57 PM

If recent stock market volatility has you wanting to hide under the covers, you’re not alone. The 2009 stock market crash was a traumatic experience for investors as many watched their life savings plummet dramatically in a relatively short period of time.

And now, with the recent volatility, memories of those scary days still haunt many an investor that rightfully so, remains traumatized from that roller coaster ride from hell back in 2009. The thought that runs through many a mind in times of high volatility and high anxiety like we’re currently experiencing; is this going to be a repeat of 2009?

Is the U.S. Stock Market Rigged?
Mark Zaifman   |    Fri, Jun 27, 2014 @ 03:46 PM

I just finished reading Flash Boys, A Wall Street Revolt, written by bestselling author Michael Lewis. The revelations in the book about how the stock market is being manipulated and rigged by high-frequency traders that have the advantage of speed, measured in milliseconds (a millisecond is a thousandth of a second) reads like one of your favorite mystery novels, only in this case, it’s not fiction but reality.

2 Alternative Strategies to Diversify Your Investment Portfolio
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, May 29, 2013 @ 12:28 PM

If you are looking to diversify your investment portfolio, (and you should be) here are two alternative investment strategies worth considering. But first, full disclosure: We have absolutely no affiliation to the firms mentioned below and receive zero compensation or any compensation, financial or non-financial from these firms. At times, we will recommend and acquire these investments to add to our investment management clients’ portfolios.  Both investments come with risk of loss, so you need to do your due diligence before investing.

Propser & Lending Club

Peer-to-peer lending has been popular in Europe for many years and it’s finally getting its due attention here in the states. The two leading companies in this space are Prosper and Lending Club

By creating a virtual platform bringing together borrowers and lenders aka-peer to peer- outside the conventional banking system, peer to peer lending is surely going to become more and more popular as word spreads.  NPR recently did a story on this new concept that you can read or listen to.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners of Prosper at a recent breakfast meeting in San Francisco. His vision, strategy and track record left little doubt in my mind that this is an alternative investment that needs to be seriously considered.

Prosper for example offers 1, 3 and 5 year notes for investors with varying interest rate returns depending on the borrower’s credit score and overall risk profile. Monthly interest payments can be reinvested or deposited electronically into your checking account.

Lower risk seasoned returns at Prosper currently average 5.41% with higher risk notes earning 14.12% and higher. Investments in personal loans from qualified borrowers can be as little as $25. For fixed income investors seeking higher income, this could play a role in your portfolio. Being able to invest across different credit grades and estimated yields provides the diversity you need.

Perhaps it was my 3 years of experience working at Fair Isaac, home of the FICO credit score, that has me believing in this alternative investment so highly, yet peer-to-peer lending/investing in my humble opinion is the next big thing in the investing world. Check it out, make sure you fully understand the risks involved and see if it has a place in your portfolio.

Smart, Sensible Retirement Planning Advice by Nobel Prize Winner
Mark Zaifman   |    Fri, May 10, 2013 @ 11:40 AM

A person saving for retirement who chooses low-cost investments instead of higher-cost ones could have a standard of living throughout retirement that's more than 20 percent higher”, says Noble Prize winner William Sharpe.

In a recent interview published on the Stanford Graduate School of Business website, Sharpe, a professor emeritus at the school, clearly illustrates how much more money retirees would have if they saved for retirement using lower-cost index funds rather than higher-cost actively managed funds.

Attempting to Outsmart the Stock Market is Not an Investment Strategy
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Jan 09, 2013 @ 09:36 AM

Back in the day, I considered myself an ‘outsmarter’. It was the mid-80’s, I was young and carefree and believed, as did the vast majority of my friends and colleagues, that we had the winning formula for stock market success.

The 7 Virtues of Simplified Investing
Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Dec 19, 2012 @ 11:09 AM
Investing News - Vanguard Top 10 Mutual Fund Winners YTD
Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Oct 02, 2012 @ 12:42 PM

Who could have guessed back in January that Vanguard stock mutual funds would have performed as well as they have year to date?

Boomers, Demographics and the Impact on Future Stock Market Returns
Mark Zaifman   |    Thu, Aug 09, 2012 @ 12:15 PM

During their working years, baby boomers have invested a significant portion of their retirement savings in stocks, boosting equity valuations above historical averages for the past 30 years. As the baby boom generation retires and begins spending from their investment portfolios, future equity returns could decrease. With that in mind, it’s crucial that boomers nearing retirement develop retirement income strategies with prudent as well as realistic expectations of future investment returns.

The Role Demographics Will Play

Rethink Your Financial Objectives and Keep Your Emotions Out of It
Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Jan 24, 2012 @ 08:16 AM

Since the stock market crash of 2008, investors of all stripes, but especially boomers, have had a love-hate relationship with the market. When the markets are relatively calm and trending up, we love the markets, when the opposite is true, we hate the stock market.

I’m purposely using words like love and hate to illustrate a point. These are powerful words that in turn create powerful and impactful emotional responses. And if there’s one area of life that truly benefits from rational decision making as opposed to emotionally based decision making, it’s the world of investing.

Vanguard Mutual Fund's John Bogle Discusses Investment Risks
Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Oct 04, 2011 @ 07:10 AM

Bogle Discusses Investment Risk During Volatile Times

Read More