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Over the past year, there has been increasing buzz in the financial industry surrounding new regulation from the Department of Labor (DOL). The “Conflict of Interest Rule” proposed by the DOL seeks to apply a “fiduciary standard” to any financial advisor who makes recommendations about clients’ retirement accounts. The ruling is expected to reshape the financial industry and drastically change the commission system that provides compensation for many advisors.

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Identity theft is all around us.  Credit.com wrote a recent article regarding the dumbest risks people take with their smartphones.  We as a society do not think twice about using our phones to check account balances and make payments.  We also do not think that most of this sensitive data is stored directly on our phones.  Along with contact information for friends, family, and colleagues.  If you have not taken the right steps, if you lost your phone, you could be in for a very rude awakening.  Here are the 10 dumbest things people do or fail to do with their smartphones.

  1. No password protection – locking your phone if a simple thing that all smartphone users should do.  It may not be foolproof, but it certainly helps.
  2. Shop online with an internet browser instead of a shopping app – Unlike browsers – dedicated shopping apps are designed to ward off phishing and other kinds of scams
  3. Remain logged into banking, PayPal, eBay and other sensitive apps – While it may be a pain, for security reasons you should NEVER click the box asking the app to save your user ID or password.  Log in every time, it truly doesn’t take that long.
  4. Automatically connect to any available WiFi connections – Hackers with the right software can easily hack your phone, as security experts have warned us for more than a decade.
  5. Leave Bluetooth connections open – Have you heard of Bluejacking, Bluesnarfing, Bluebugging?  These are all words that describe a hacker exploiting open Bluetooth connection on your phone.
  6. Fail to properly purse data from old smartphones – Be sure to delete data prior to getting rid of your old phone.  Setting it back to factory settings is the easiest way to do this.
  7. Download “free” apps that aren’t actually free – Be sure you are smart and discreet about what you download.  Read reviews first, make sure the apps you download come from reputable sources.
  8. Storing sensitive data on phones – Passwords, pins, social security numbers, credit card or bank account information…these are just a few items that people store on their smartphones.  Don’t do it!
  9. Failing to clear browser history – A thief can use your history to hijack your accounts.
  10. No remote wiping software – This is just one more layer of protection you can use.

To read the entire article – click here.


Have you ever wondered where to live to get the largest paycheck for your career?  Payscale.com collects salary and career data and creates a listing that discusses just that.

Click here to view the article – rather interesting to say the least!


24/7 WallSt creates a list every year of ten different brands or companies they predict will disappear within the year.  Last year they accurately predicted the demise of MySpace, Saab, A&W and Sony Ericsson.  They were a bit off the mark with their choices of Sears, Kellogg’s Corn Pops and Soap Opera Digest.

Still, it is interesting to read what they have researched regarding these companies.  Click here to read the entire article.  Are there companies on there you agree will disappear?


Unfortunately the media knows exactly how to influence our behavior as investors and it can be more harmful than helpful.  When the market gets volatile, the media tends to multiply that effect by making generalized statements that mislead you to thinking people are heading for the hills.  They may allude to the effect that people are stock piling their cash when truth be told, the vast majority of investors are sitting tight during the volatility.  They do this in hopes of triggering a herd-mentality.  We think there is safety in numbers so investors want to follow the herd and change course of action, when truly, this is not what should be taking place.

Uncertain times call for investors to scramble and read into third-party expert theories.  I like to remember this saying from Lauren Templeton, “Successful investing relies on rational decision-making, which in many instances requires delayed gratification.”  Always remember, keep your head in the game and do not buy into all the hype the financial media is drumming up.


Liz Ann Sonders, Senior Vice President, Chief Investment Strategist with Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. has written a nice commentary article regarding the recent announcement by the fed of “Operation Twist”.

Please click here to read this commentary.


Mark Riepe, CFA
Senior Vice Prsident, Schwab Center for Financial Research
President, Charles Schwab Investment Advisory

 

All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market conditions. Data contained herein from third party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed.

Examples provided are for illustrative (or “informational”) purposes only and not intended to be reflective of results you can expect to achieve.

Diversification does not eliminate the risk of investment losses.

Fixed income securities are subject to increased loss of principal during periods of rising interest rates. Fixed income investments are subject to various other risks including changes in credit quality, market valuations, liquidity, prepayments, early redemption, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.

International investments involve additional risks, which include differences in financial accounting standards, currency fluctuations, political instability, foreign taxes and regulations, and the potential for illiquid markets. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks.

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US investors are beginning to rethink the composition of their portfolios and become more risk averse. If people become more conservative, that could possibly create a deflationary environment, which is a positive for bonds, not for equities. Corporate earnings have been strong throughout this this crisis. If you would like to learn more, click here to go to an article from International Financing Review.


Terrific video from Morningstar regarding the current bond trends.


How can stocks be approaching an all-time high if the economy is suffering from high unemployment and sagging home prices?  Watch this great video from MoneyWatch for an explaination.