Good High Yield Dividend Stocks Are Better Alternatives to Bonds Today

The markets continue to be volatile.

With the European countries still struggling to figure their way out of the debt mess, and even the well regarded bank like JP Morgan taking large losses on their hedging activities, it is understandable that some investors may decide move their assets to the relative safety of the bonds.

However, this safety is illusory.

The Inverse Relationship Between Bonds and Interest Rates

This is one of the fundamental principle of bond investing.  It is well understood but still bears repeating.

The value of a bond goes up when the interest rates are low and it goes down when the interest rates are high.
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Tradeking and Zecco to Merge – More Capabilities, Same Great Pricing

Like so many other industries, there are small players and big players.

Little fish in a very large pond may be another applicable cliché to describe this story.  The pond is the brokerage business and that pond is big.

Companies like Fidelity, the world’s largest retirement account holder has 13.5 million accounts, E*Trade, one of the most well known of the brokers for retail investors has 3.9 million accounts and TD Ameritrade has 5.7 million.

In the past, there were plenty of smaller discount brokers but most were bought by the larger firms.

Schwab acquired OptionsXpress for $1 billion and TD Ameritrade acquired Thinkorswim for an undisclosed amount.

As the big brokers keep getting bigger, there was little room to compete if you were still holding on as one of the smaller firms in the highly competitive field of discount brokerage.

[Related: Best Online Brokers for Inexpensive Trades]

This was true for two small firms, Zecco and Tradeking.
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How to Avoid Investment Scams

We all want to make more money.

And, for many, the dream is to make money quickly and with a minimal amount of work.  This is why investing is such a popular method of making money.

If you take a measured approach, you should be able to regularly invest in carefully chosen stocks, index funds or some other boring investment, and, over time, amass a reasonable amount of wealth as you receive returns on your investment.

Many people, though, don’t want to take the measured approach.

There are stories of people making money fast by choosing the right investment, at the right time.

How many of us regular folks harbor the dream of, perhaps, taking $10,000 in capital and turning it quickly and painlessly into ten times that amount?

The unfortunate truth is that investments that promise such riches, fast and easy, are usually scams.

Does that Investment Send Up Red Flags?

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Is Gold a Good Investment Right Now?

Since reaching a high price of $1,913 back on August 23rd of 2011, gold seems to have fallen off the investment radar screen.

In fact it seems the only time gold is ever on that screen is when it’s on its way to establishing new record prices.

Now that gold has settled comfortably in the mid-$1,600 range no one seems to be paying much attention.

But how should we take that?

Will gold slowly drift its way back down below the $1,000 mark, or will it—as some claim—continue to rise to ever higher prices punctuated by periods of price stability? And should we even consider gold as an investment?

Why invest in gold at all?

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What is FOREX Trading and is it Right for My Portfolio?

Sometimes sticking to stocks and bonds just isn’t enough for the investor that wants to make his portfolio a little more exotic.

For the aspiring speculator, a wide range of options are available: trading options, trading on margin, owning precious metals, and FOREX trading.

Be forewarned: you should never dedicate more than 5-10% of your nest egg to any kind of speculative trade opportunity whether it be picking individual stocks on your own or doing currency trading.  You can survive losing that small chunk of your portfolio, but not a significant portion of your assets.

What is FOREX Trading?

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President Obama Signs STOCK Act – No Congressional Insider Trading

If you’re a retail or individual investor you may feel like the little guy can’t win in the stock market.

The individual investor is a little fish in the vast ocean we call the world’s investment market and only the biggest of the investors can actually get ahead.

Many of us have said that in the past but we were hoping that it wasn’t true.  The market is supposed to be set up so everybody has the same information and although insider trading is difficult to police, some high profile cases over the past couple of years have made big investors a little less likely to share illegal information when others aren’t looking.

How does it make you feel to know that insider trading was not only legal, but your elected officials were taking part?

Thanks to the recent signing of the STOCK Act, or Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act, members of Congress can no longer profit from insider trading. Continue Reading

New Federal Regulation for 401k Fee Transparency Rules

Broken_401k_nest_egg

Do you know how much it costs you on an annual basis to simply participate in an employer-sponsored 401k plan?

If you’re savvy, you probably already know that the mutual funds you select within your 401k plan have expense ratios.  That number shows how much out of every dollar invested you give to the mutual fund company to manage the fund.

On average actively managed mutual funds cost around 1% of invested assets (or $100 for every $10,000 invested).

But if you think that is the only fee being charged to you, prepare for a shock.

New 401k Fee Transparency Rules

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