Invest and Prosper: Goals & Discipline


In mounting an imperative challenge, it is essential that realistic long-term targets be set according to individual aspirations, time horizons, risk tolerances, tax brackets and comfort zones. It’s like embarking on a long highway journey in which there could well be many bumps and detours – maybe even the occasional flat tire or accident – along the way before arriving safely at one’s destination.


Investment goals can vary according to individual lifestyle preferences, estate plans and designated beneficiaries and charities. In addition, they can change as economic and market conditions change and/or as we change; for example, from needing current income to finance a growing family to focusing increasingly on the accumulation of latter-year savings for those ever-lengthening years in retirement.


If there is a single constant in a multi-changing and ever-challenging process it is the importance of building wealth according to a customized and well-constructed investment plan without having to risk precious (and hard-won) savings beyond affordable limits. It follows that successful investing must be a systematic long-term affair in which en passant volatility, distractions and temptations are rigidly subordinated to a

Too Late for Gold?


I was 13 when India was in crisis. It had borrowed too much money in dollars and was desperate to pay it back.

India needed dollars badly. So the government came up with a scheme to get it from people like my father who were earning money in petrodollars.

The Middle East was booming, and thousands of Indian people had followed my dad’s example and gotten jobs in Dubai and places like it. They were benefiting from the fast-growing economy there.

Dubai’s currency is easily exchanged into dollars, and India was desperate to lure my father and others like him into lending those dollars to the government.

To do this, India offered my father a once-in-a-lifetime deal: Lend your dollars to India, and get 18% interest per year tax-free for 30 years. To sweeten the deal, the government set it up so you could get your money back in dollars after a couple of years if you wanted – or keep earning 18% tax-free for 30 years.

Eighteen percent is an astonishingly high rate of return. You’d be lucky to get that from stocks or risky

5 Keys for Startup Investors

Hundreds of thousands of businesses are formed every year. Many of them are in significant need of capital, presenting opportunities for investors.

While startup investing is not for everyone, those with a high risk tolerance can find it a stimulating and potentially rewarding pastime. The possibility of getting in on the ground floor of the next Uber or Facebook, speculative as that might be, can be compelling.

Suppose you hear about an exciting new company looking for investors. You are aware that a majority of startups end up failing within the first few years, but you think this one could hit it big. What do you do?

1. Check out the Management

You ultimately are investing not just in a product or an idea, but in the people running the company. No matter how innovative or promising the business concept may seem, the enterprise is unlikely to succeed without capable management. You should assess not only the founders, but also those promoting the investment. An initial review often can be done online. In the case of those with professional licenses (such as brokers, accountants, and attorneys), you can check their license status and any disciplinary history. You want the people running or associated

Beware the Fool’s Gold Rush

Years ago, I remember making my first precious-metal purchase.

Silver was $5 an ounce, and gold was going for $350. I walked into a coin shop and asked the owner if he had any 10-ounce silver bars for sale.

I’ll always be grateful for his response. The owner gave me a little silver seminar – the fabricator’s brand stamp, the weight in troy ounces, the “three nines fine” (the mark showing the metal is 0.999% pure silver). Then he picked up a big hardware-store hammer from behind the counter…

“Hear that?” he said, as he tapped hammer and bar together. A distinctive ping rang out. “That’s the sound of real silver.”

These days, though, the real thing (silver or gold) is getting harder and harder to identify…

Take, for instance, the recent discovery in March of counterfeit gold bars bearing the PAMP Suisse mark – a highly respected private gold mint.

Fugazi Gold

It’s not the first time that someone has faked a gold bar, of course, but the sophistication of the fakery makes it more notable – and dangerous for unwary gold buyers.

As noted by the folks at

These new fakes not only have a better strike quality than previous examples, but there are no

Best Investment Advice: Be Careful With The Financial Media

When it comes to making investment decisions, the “talking heads” on television financial shows really don’t know much more than you do if any more than you do.

They do have more immediate ongoing research and information delivery in the background, but much of the time they’re parroting dialogue via their earpiece.

Here is what you really need to know.

The only reliable talking heads were the Talking Heads, an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991, composed of David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, and Jerry Harrison.

Given raw data from a corporate balance sheet, income statement, or more comprehensive 10K, many of the media journalists couldn’t do a good job of evaluating a company. It’s possible the Talking Heads could do as well.

This sounds like I’m knocking the media pundits, but I’m not. They’re doing a job and following a script prepared in producer/director staff meetings. But, I am saying buyer beware when it comes to making stock share purchase decisions based upon anything heard on cable business shows.

A personal case in point involves Annaly Capital (NYSE: NLY). Annaly is a mortgage real estate investment trust – REIT – that owns a portfolio of

Is Gold a Belief or Faith?

Most of us are passionate about investing or saving in gold. We feel good and secure when we accumulate private holding of bars and coins over time as part of our investments or savings.

On the contrary, we are restless and concerned about how much our holding worth in a particular currency, mainly the US Dollar. We spoil our joy of owning gold by watching gold prices day and night. We become alarmed whenever prices drop and hysterical whenever prices skyrocket. We accidentally put ourselves in an unpleasant form of living.

In this article, we will try to analyze our attitudes towards gold, shed some light on reasons behind our actions, and find suitable means to deal with changing markets.

We start our journey with the question “why are you somehow interested in possessing this yellow metal?”

You may say “for ages, gold proved to be the real money, and symbolizes the safe heaven investment”, or you may answer “I feel safe and secure when having a private holding of gold”, but what are the real drivers.

In old times and over thousands of years, we had used gold in the form of coins to exchange monetary value for goods and services. Over time,

The Options Scenario for Hedge Funds

Hedge funds continue to be one of the most dynamic users of both exchange-traded and OTC options, especially in the US, but certain managers could still not be using the opportunity that these instruments can provide them.

Equity-based investment strategies manage hedge funds, which account for a large portion of the equity options market. Several funds focus on the liquid US equity markets and use single stock options, ETF and index options to hedge risk.

Types of Option-Based Strategy


Covered put or call options have always been a feature for the long/short equity manager, especially in markets where there is an extensive availability of single-name contracts.

For e.g., in Asia, the choice of single name options is extremely restricted, managers are still dependent on OTC contracts or basic volatility strategies.

The equity hedge fund could use index based puts and calls to economically hedge upside or downside exposure. Managers have been able to concurrently profit from both long and short positions using options. But, it is hard to accomplish constant returns on the short side during an upward-trending market as call selling is not a ‘set and forget’ strategy.

There are extremely sophisticated defensive strategies that regularly make use of options such as hedging

Saving Money on Healthcare Costs in Retirement


Healthcare expenses in retirement is a growing concern for retirees. The increasing costs of healthcare and the inflation factor that goes along with it creates a growing need for advanced planning related to preparing for these costs. Currently Medicare Part B inflation is running around 8% and Part D around 7%.

Healthcare and Medicare expenses are one of the largest expenses – even larger than recreation and housing costs combined. Consumers are often confused when it comes to what is the proper amount to plan for on the “Medical Expenses” line item on their household budgets. Many do not realize that an individual’s Medicare premiums are affected by one’s annual income. Understanding one’s MAGI (Modified Adjusted Gross Income) and implementing strategies to plan around certain income thresholds can positively affect healthcare expenses in retirement.

Here’s an example – a married couple who moves their tax bracket one threshold lower can save $70,000 over their lifetime. How can planning make that happen?

Non-qualified annuities, Health Savings Accounts, Permanent Life Insurance, Reverse Mortgages, ROTH IRAs, are all ways to reduce one’s taxable income. Required Minimum Distributions