Briefly Noted Articles

The “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2015

The IRS lists 12 aggressive, threatening actions by scam artists during the early weeks of the 2015 tax season. Read more »

Greater 401(k) Focus on Retirement, But Not Annuities

In a recent survey, most employers said they were likely to increase their focus employees' retirement planning this year, but few expressed interest in adding retirement income products to their plan offerings. Read more »

Mutual Fund Managers Don’t Outperform Individual Investors

A recent study showed that mutual fund managers are no more successful at managing their own personal portfolios than most individual investors are. Read more »

Target Risk Funds Not Worth the Expense

Though target risk funds share some similarities to target date funds, there are key differences; plus, they are also not the most cost-effective investment option. Read more »

Activist Investors Go Public to Prod Company Executives

Dissident shareholders who publicly disclose their letters to management may be doing so with the intention of reaching a wider audience. Read more »

Confidence in Financial Skills Unaltered by Worsening Cognitive Skills

Analysis of an ongoing study by Rush University Medical Center concluded that older adults experiencing measured declines in their cognitive skills remain confident about their financial management skills. Read more »

Gauging Your Psychological Readiness for Retirement

Those near retirement should ask themselves if they psychologically ready to change their lifestyle from being employed full-time to being retired. Read more »

Many Retirees May Benefit From Non-Traditional Strategies

A brief from the American Institute for Economic Research challenges two primary guidelines for retirement investing that are considered conventional wisdom. Read more »

The Median Stock Doesn’t Beat the Broad Market Indexes

According an analysis conducted by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, the median stock underperformed, since its inception, the Russell 3000 by 54%. Read more »

Financial Advisers’ Preferences Determine Client Allocations

Rather than tailoring the advice for a given client’s demographic profile, advisers suggest allocations based on the strategy they use for themselves. Read more »

The Top Investor Threats for 2015

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) named four investing strategies as emerging threats investors should be wary of in 2015. Read more »

ETFs Are Not Always Cheaper Than Mutual Funds

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are perceived as being cheaper than mutual funds. Is this confirmed by reality? Read more »

Annuities Now Allowed in Target Date Funds

Deferred annuities are now to be held by target date funds within qualified defined-contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans. Read more »

Some Analysts Use Stock Ratings to Get New Jobs

Analysts who are looking to get a job working for a company they cover take a more optimistic stance and issue more reports on the companies they wish to work for, according to a recent study. Read more »

10 Year-End Financial Actions

Fidelity lists 10 tasks investors should complete before the end of the calendar year to reduce taxes, protect their portfolios and ensure their financial goals are met. Read more »

Five Ways Physicians Can Protect Seniors’ Portfolios

These steps can also work well for starting a conversation with your or your parents’ doctor about cognitive impairment. Read more »

New Rules for Rolling Over Aftertax 401(k) Contributions

Taxpayers now have the option to designate which accounts pretax and aftertax contributions from 401(k), 403(b) or 457(b) plans are disbursed to. Read more »

It’s Not Easy to Accumulate $1 Million in an IRA

An investor would have to follow both a disciplined savings strategy and an aggressive portfolio strategy to accumulate $1 million in his or her individual retirement account (IRA). Read more »

Global Investors More Focused on Meeting Needs

Investors have shifted their investing focus from beating the markets to meeting predefined needs, according to a survey conducted for Principal Global Investors. Read more »

Your House Can Be an Income-Generating Asset

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College suggests retirees should look at their house as a source of income, either by downsizing or through a reverse mortgage. Read more »

Why Momentum Strategies Can Crash

Momentum strategies targeting stocks with relative outperformance have been shown to boost returns during normal market conditions; however, during the initial stage of a new bull market these strategies dramatically lose their edge. Read more »

Fund Manager Tenure Based on Peer Returns

Since active mutual funds are judged on their returns, it would seem logical for the tenure of solo managers to be tied to their performance. However,one study shows that tenure has more to do with not underperforming competitors than with beating category benchmarks. Read more »

Five Investment Questions to Ask

The SEC outlines five basic questions investors should ask to avoid being a victim of financial fraud. Read more »

A Checklist for Rolling Over a 401(k)

Even if you decide when changing jobs or retiring to leave your investments in your former employer’s plan, you should investigate your options to ensure you are making the best choice. Read more »

Donald Sterling’s Lesson: Read the Estate Documents

The seemingly boilerplate clauses in estate planning documents can lead to unintended consequences, as Donald Sterling found out when he lost of control over his trust, and thereby the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. Read more »

Stress Hormone Alters Tolerances for Financial Risk

A sustained increase in the stress hormone cortisol leads to both a reduced tolerance for risk and an increased preference for perceived safer, but lower-return outcomes. Read more »

Tougher for Brokers to Remove Complaints From BrokerCheck

Brokers can no longer expunge customer complaint data from the Central Registration Depository System without a court order, thanks to a rule change approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Read more »

Required Retirement Savings Rate Depends on Age and Income

Saving 15% of income for retirement is a common rule of a thumb. The actual number depends on the amount of replacement income needed, when the worker starts saving for retirement and when he or she plans to retire, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Read more »

Retirement Planning May Improve Your Health

Whether or not a person contributes to a 401(k) plan may influence his or her health. Read more »

Estates, Not Heirs, Generally Pay the Debts of the Deceased

The debts of a deceased parent are mostly not passed on to children, though some exceptions exist. The basic rules regarding common types of debt. Read more »

Five Situations When a Revocable Trust Can Help

A revocable trust can help a person manage or protect his assets should he no longer be able to manage them himself. Read more »

Conference Calls: No or Few Questions Are Costly

A lack of questions during an earnings conference call has an adverse impact on a stock’s price. Read more »

Which IRA Should You Contribute to and When?

Roth IRAs offer better wealth incomes than traditional IRAs do on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Read more »

A Primer on Bank Sweep Programs

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued an Investor Bulletin to inform investors about the characteristics and risk of broker programs that sweep uninvested cash into a bank account. Read more »

Avoiding Probate Through Account Titling

The manner in which your checking accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts and other similar assets are titled can play a big role in estate planning. Read more »

Supreme Court: No Bankruptcy Protection for Inherited IRAs

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that inherited IRAs are not protected from creditors under the bankruptcy code. Read more »

Three Investment Management Tips for Couples

Though it’s common for one person in a household to make the investment decisions, UBS survey respondents tasked with the responsibility didn’t express much satisfaction with the role. Tips for potentially improving outcomes and satisfaction. Read more »

Stocks’ Price Volatility Increased by ETF Ownership

Ownership by an ETF increases a stock’s daily volatility by 16%. A National Bureau of Economic Research working paper cites arbitrage as the reason why. Read more »

Investment Knowledge Boosts Portfolio Returns

Over a 30-year investment span, improved portfolio performance due to investment knowledge leads to 25% greater wealth, according to a study. Read more »

Rules for Recouping Incentive Compensation Vary

One method companies have for punishing misconduct by executives is to recoup bonuses, stock options or other incentive programs. Read more »

Relative Portfolio Returns Influence Happiness

Whether an investor is happy or unhappy with his performance is significantly influenced by how his portfolio performs relative to the market. Read more »

10-K Filing Size Impacts Volatility

Stocks of companies that file larger 10-K annual reports experience more price volatility in the period immediately following the filing date, according to a new study. Read more »

Confusion About Retirement Income Taxes

Many middle-income Americans age 50 and over do not understand the tax rules regarding retirement savings, according to a Banker’s Life Center for a Secure Retirement survey. Read more »

New Rules for IRA Rollovers

The IRS issued a bulletin saying that in light of a recent court case, aggregate IRA rollovers will be limited to one per person per year. Read more »

Rethinking Retirement Strategies

A column in Research magazine says a well-planned retirement lifestyle has a greater impact on happiness than the amount saved. Read more »

IRA Withdrawals: Who and How Much?

Retirees are not the only ones taking withdrawals from individual retirement accounts (IRAs). An analysis by EBRI found that individuals aged 54 or younger owned 22.1% of IRAs with a withdrawal made in 2011. Read more »

High CEO Compensation Hurts Shareholders

An analysis of mostly S&P 1500 Super Composite firms found a negative correlation between size- and industry-adjusted CEO compensation and future one- and three-year share price performance. Read more »

Be Aware of IRA Rollover Rules

A tax court case cast a light on the rules governing and the prudence needed for individual retirement account (IRA) rollovers. Read more »

Seven Rookie Retiree Mistakes to Avoid

USA Today asked financial experts to list the biggest mistakes people make during their first year of retirement and then narrowed down the list to seven key missteps. Read more »

Considerations When Rolling Over a 401(k) to an IRA

A key decision a person must make when leaving a job is what to do with workplace retirement savings. Read more »

Sources of Tax-Free Income

Though most income and compensation is subject to federal taxes, not all of it is. J.K. Lasser identified 25 sources of tax-free income. Read more »

Panel Advises Against Mandated Spreads for Small-Cap Stocks

Mandating wider bid-ask spreads for small-cap stocks may unfairly hurt individual investors, according to the SEC's Investor Advisory Committee. Read more »

The Top Proxy Issues of 2013, and Likely 2014

IR Magazine, which covers investor relations from a global perspective, compiled a list of the top trends from 2013’s proxy season and predicted what shareholders and corporations could see in 2014. Read more »

Companies Play Favorites to Hide Bad News

Corporate executives selectively choose which analysts they interact with during conference calls to avoid unwanted questions. This “casting” of calls happens when there is potentially bad news a company does not want highlighted, according to Harvard researchers. Read more »

The Cloonan Award for Excellence in Investment Education

James Cloonan founded the American Association of Individual Investors in 1978 with the clear understanding that individual investors have unique investment needs and opportunities. To honor Jim’s work in the field of investment education and research for the individual investor, AAII’s board of directors has established a new award. Read more »

Stocks May Be Unscathed by Baby Boomer Retirees

The retirement of the baby-boom generation should not be a drag on stock prices, according to an analysis by Vanguard. Read more »

The Health Impact of Working in Retirement

Working has a mixed impact on a retiree’s health, according to economics researcher Tunga Kantacri of Tilburg University, Netherlands. Read more »

Proxy Recommendations Driving Equity Compensation

Many corporations adjust their equity compensation plans to match the targets set by proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), according to researchers who are affiliated with Harvard University and Stanford University. Read more »

AAII Model Shadow Stock Portfolio: Emergency Sale of FAB Universal Corp. (FU)

Due to allegations raised that FAB may have issued materially misleading business information to the investing public, FAB Universal (FU) is being removed from the Model Shadow Stock Portfolio. Read more »

Increase Equity Exposure Throughout Retirement

Raising exposure to stocks throughout one’s retirement may reduce both the probability of running out of money and the magnitude of any shortfalls. Read more »

Social Networks Can Influence Portfolio Allocations

The financial knowledge of the people you interact with can impact your portfolio allocation decisions, especially if you and they are financially literate. Read more »

Director Pay Rises 4.5%

Pay for serving on a corporation’s board of directors continues to rise. Read more »

Investing’s Seven Sins

Kiplinger put together a list of the seven biggest missteps investors make. Read more »

The Brain’s Reaction to Market Bubbles

Thinking you know what the intentions of other investors are could put you at greater financial risk during bubbles. Read more »

Conference Calls Get Grouchier in the Afternoon

Afternoon earnings conference calls tend to be more negative, irritable, and combative than those held in during the morning hours. Read more »

Adjust Savings Rates as Income Rises

An adjustable approach to retirement savings may improve the odds of success, according to researchers at Dimensional Fund Advisors. Read more »

More Stocks, Fewer Options Awarded

More companies are awarding full-value shares of stock instead of options and are linking executive compensation to the achievement of specific goals. Read more »

Prenuptial Agreements May Not Waive Beneficiary Rights

The mere inclusion of a clause in a prenuptial agreement to waive beneficiary rights to a 401(k) plan’s proceeds is not enough to enact an actual spousal waiver. Read more »

Dementia and Financial Decision Making

The impact of a memory disease diagnosis on a couple’s finances depends on how actively the couple controls their retirement accounts. Read more »

Inherited Non-Spousal IRAs Bankruptcy Exemption Questioned

Inherited non-spousal individual retirement accounts (inherited IRAs) are not protected under the federal bankruptcy code, according to a recent ruling. Read more »

On the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books. Read more »

The Biggest Retirement Investing Mistakes recently published a list of the seven biggest retirement investing mistakes and advice on how to avoid them. Read more »

The Good and Bad of Large 401(k) Plans

Large 401(k) plans, ones with numerous investment choices, can be good for the employer, but bad for the employee. Read more »

On the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books. Read more »

Income Is a Challenge for Investors Worldwide

Four in 10 investors worldwide are generating less income than they hope for, according to Legg Mason. Read more »

Pension and Settlement Streams Raise Regulatory Concerns

Concerns about pension and settlement income streams prompted an investor alert from regulators. Read more »

Postpone Retirement for Your Health

Retirement leads to poorer health, according to a study by Britain’s Institute of Economic Affairs. Read more »

The Difficulty of Rolling Over 401(k) Savings

Workers are both inadvertently and purposely encouraged to roll over their 401(k) plans into individual retirement accounts (IRAs) when changing jobs. Read more »

On the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books Read more »

A Lack of Openness Between Advisers and Investors

A report from analytics firm Cerulli Associates revealed differences in how investors and financial advisers perceive their financial relationship. Read more »

Big Ad Spending Not Influencing Retirement Savings Behavior

Americans remain unprepared for retirement, even though the financial services industry spent $1.14 billion in 2011 advertising retirement planning products and services. Read more »

Proposals to Reform Money Market Funds

Three proposals to reform money market funds were the subject of a letter from the presidents of 12 Federal Reserve banks to the Financial Stability Oversight Council. Read more »

If Your 401(k) Could Talk…

Actuarial consultant Milliman imagines your 401(k) plan would bring up 10 important points if it could talk. Read more »

Investors Uncertain, But Saving and Budgeting More

Nearly half of affluent investors expect today’s economic uncertainty not only to continue, but also to be “more of a permanent reality,” according to the latest Merrill Lynch Affluent Insights Survey. Read more »

Worries About Retirement Spread

More Americans are worried about having enough saved for retirement, according to the Pew Research Center. Read more »

Questioning High Approval Rates for Executive Compensation

Overwhelmingly, shareholder votes are approving executive compensation. Read more »

On the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books Read more »

Retirement Savings Advice From Retirees

Fifty-four percent of current retirees are confident they will be able to live comfortably throughout retirement, in contrast to only a quarter of those below the retirement age and currently employed, according to a new survey. Read more »

On the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books. Read more »

Retirement Savings Have Not Adjusted to Changed Risks

Americans’ ratio of wealth-to-income declined in 2010, based on an analysis of the Federal Reserve’s triennial survey of household wealth. Read more »

401(k) Changes Leading to More Participation and Diversification

Changes in the 401(k) landscape have resulted in employee participation rates remaining high and leading to more diversification, according to an Aon Hewitt study. Read more »

Emerging and Persistent Investor Threats Named

The list of potentially dangerous financial products and practices updated by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) includes practices designed to exploit new and existing federal laws. Read more »

Ready for Retirement at Age 65? 70?

A study cited by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) cast doubt on whether most Americans will be ready to retire at age 70, let alone age 65. Read more »

The Impact of Experience on Performance

Individual investors adapt their trading strategies over time, but only partially learn from their mistakes. Read more »

On the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books. Read more »

Poor Advice About Social Security

When to start taking Social Security benefits is a difficult decision that has a significant impact on retirees. Yet, a new working paper finds that individuals who turn to financial advisers for help are often misguided. Read more »

Forthcoming Changes in Employee Benefits

Employees, and possibly even retirees, could be looking at higher expenses, but potentially more choices, when it comes to benefits. Read more »

From the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books Read more »

401(k) Plans Changing, But Not Communication

The big trend among employer-sponsored retirement plans is automatic features. Read more »

Target Date Funds Growing in Popularity

Target date funds are growing in popularity among defined-contribution participants, according to Vanguard. Read more »

Bad Behavior in the Financial Industry

A sizeable number of financial services professionals said they have either observed, have firsthand knowledge of or feel pressured to engage in unlawful or unethical behavior, according to a new survey. Read more »

From the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books. Read more »

Look Beyond Asset Allocation for Retirement Security

Asset allocation is an important part of investing—but it is not the most effective option to ensure financial security in retirement, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Read more »

Retirement Strategies for Volatile Markets

Volatile and uncertain market conditions are particularly troublesome for those who have recently retired or are near retirement. Read more »

Gender Gap in Financial Literacy Is Growing

The gap between men and women in knowledge and awareness of personal finances is growing, according to a new survey by Financial Finesse. Read more »

Early Retirement, Early Death?

A study by Josef Zweimuller, Andreas Kuhn and Jean-Philippe Wuellrich at the University of Zurich suggests that early retirement could lead to an earlier death. Read more »

Five Steps for Increasing Retirement Income

Fidelity Investments modeled five steps that investors of all ages can use to increase their retirement income. Read more »

From the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books. Read more »

Mutual Fund Fees Decline, Slightly

Average expense ratios for mutual funds that primarily invest in stocks declined four basis points last year, according to the Investment Company Institute (ICI). Read more »

Are Financial Advisers Encouraging Bad Behavior?

Not only do many financial advisers fail to discourage behavioral finance errors by investors, but many advisers also reinforce behaviors that are in their own best interest, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Read more »

Americans Worried About Retirement Savings, But Saving More

The proportion of Americans who are worried about not having saved enough money for retirement is increasing, according to The 2012 Scottrade American Retirement Study. At the same time, more Americans are seeking ways to save more money. Read more »

Be Wary of Crowd Funding Start-Ups

Later this year, or early next year, you will have the chance to buy shares in privately held companies through a process known as crowd funding. If an offering seems interesting, tread carefully, do as much research as you can and only commit money you can afford to lose. Read more »

From the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books. Read more »

Life Spans, Health Care Costs and Rethinking Retirement

Three out of four affluent Americans would change how they approach money management if they knew they would live to be 100, according to the Merrill Lynch Affluent Insights Survey. Read more »

10 Tips for Getting More out of Your IRA

The effectiveness of an individual retirement account (IRA) can be maximized through a combination of strategic planning and careful decision-making. Read more »

Target Date Funds Misunderstood

A survey by ING revealed gaps in investor understanding of how target date funds are designed, how they are managed, and what they are designed to do. Read more »

On the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books. Read more »

A Majority of Advisers Are Investment, Not Financial, Planners

Many advisers are misclassifying the types of services they provide, according to Cerulli Associates. Read more »

Current Conditions Alter Future Expectations

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that expectations for future events are influenced by current economic conditions. Read more »

Investments That Concern FINRA

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently listed several types of investments with heightened conduct and suitability issues. Read more »

Younger and Older Investors Use Conservative Allocations

Retirement investment styles are not differing by age group, according to a survey of nearly 600 higher education employees by Fidelity Investments. Read more »

Baby Boomers and Stock Valuations

Will the retirement of baby boomers impact the valuations of stocks? Research published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco argues it may. Read more »

From the Bookshelf

Comments on news investing books. Read more »

Age and Reactions to Financial Advice

How a person reacts to financial advice depends on age, according to a preliminary study conducted by The College of William & Mary’s Mason School of Business. Read more »

Bond Commissions Are Misunderstood

Bond commissions are a mystery to many investors, according to a study conducted for Charles Schwab. Read more »

The Impact of Online Forums on Financial Decisions

Participation in online communities can lead to riskier financial decisions. Read more »

What Defines a Bear Market?

The severity of a market fall determines how it is categorized and helps to provide a sense of how quickly a rebound may occur. Read more »

Regulators Warn About Self-Directed IRAs

A recent increase in fraudulent investment schemes involving self-directed individual retirement accounts (IRAs) has caught the attention of regulators. Read more »

Understanding the Impact of Compounding Increases Savings Rates

Knowing how big of an impact compounded returns will have on retirement savings can prompt investors to save more money. Read more »

Fidelity Top Choice for IRA Rollovers

Investors who recently rolled over their 401(k) plan to an IRA chose Fidelity more than any other brokerage firm, according to a recent survey by Millionaire Corner/Spectrem Group. Read more »

Protecting Elders From Financial Abuse

Investors can call for free advice and guidance on how to protect themselves and loved ones against financial abuse and scams on November 10, 2011. Read more »

From the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books. Read more »

Couples Lack Communication on Retirement Goals

Less than half of couples jointly handle retirement savings investment decisions, according to a new study by Fidelity Investments. Read more »

From the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books. Read more »

Marital Status and Retirement Preparation

Marital status has a big impact on how prepared an individual is for retirement, according to a working paper published by Michael Hurd and Susann Rohwedder of the RAND Corporation. Read more »

SEC Issues Family Office Rule

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a new rule defining “family offices.” Read more »

The Recession and Retirement Income

The “Great Recession” of 2007–2009 will reduce average annual incomes at age 70 by 4.3%, or $2,300, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Read more »

The SEC Warns About Reverse Mergers

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a bulletin about reverse mergers in early June. The bulletin provided information about reverse mergers and advice on how investors can protect themselves. Read more »

From the Bookshelf

Comments on new investing books. Read more »

Researching Adviser Fees Gets Easier

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made it easier for investors to look up and compare financial adviser fees and policies. The Form ADV Part II Brochure now discloses information that advisers previously did not have to include in regulatory filings. Read more »

Briefly Noted

Current news items of interest to individual investors. Read more »

Briefly Noted

Current news items of interest to individual investors. Read more »

Briefly Noted

Current news items of interest to individual investors. Read more »