Window Dressing Your Mutual Funds

To many of us, this time of year means stringing holiday lights outside, bringing out the inflatable candy canes and decorating windows with frosty snowflakes highlighted by fake candlelight. To financial advisors, this time of year brings another type of behavior: “window dressing” of mutual funds by portfolio managers. Let’s examine what mutual fund window dressing is, how you can spot it and what you should do. As you probably know, all mutual funds must list their actual holdings four times a year at the end of every quarter and many fund companies send investors copies of these reports (or they can be found online too). But what you might not know is that the list of fund holdings is only a snapshot on one particular day – not all the actual holdings that were owned throughout the quarter. Knowing this fact, some portfolio managers will sell certain stocks and …

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A Genetic Test to Spot Health Risks

Scientists first mapped the human genome 14 years ago. Since then, they have learned a lot about genetics, and someday that wisdom may lead to a cure for many diseases. But we’re not there yet. There’s “a ton we don’t understand,” says Lawrence Brody, director of the genomics and society division at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Keep that in mind if you take advantage of the first “direct to consumer” genetic test for health risks. That test became available in the spring, when 23andMe, a DNA testing firm, was the first company to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell directly to consumers–without a prescription–a genetic test that screens for certain health risks. Here’s how it works: You pay $199 to order a Health and Ancestry kit online from 23andMe.com. When it arrives, you spit into a tube and mail it back. Two months later, …

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Tech Executives Express Optimism About Revenue & Employment Growth

While technology executives report that they are ramping up deployment of automation and machine learning across several functions of their company, they also claim they are planning to hire more people over the next several years, according to the results of a survey of U.S. technology CEOs by accountancy firm KPMG. Released on July 11, the findings of a survey of 138 U.S. technology industry chief executives from internet, hardware, software, cloud, and IT services companies showed that around three-quarters of the respondents believe that automation and machine learning are likely to replace at least 5% of their manufacturing, technology, sales, and marketing workforce over the next three years. At the same time, more than half (55%) of respondents said they expect their company’s headcount to grow at least 6%. Almost 60% of the CEOs surveyed said they expect annual revenue growth for their organization over the next three years …

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Inflation, Your Retirement & Purchasing Power

You hear it all the time: you should make sure your retirement savings at least keep pace with inflation. But what is inflation and how does it really affect your retirement savings? Let’s explore. In simple terms, inflation is defined as an increase in the general level of prices for goods and services. Deflation, on the other hand, is defined as a decrease in the general level of prices for goods and services. If inflation is high, at say 10% – as it was in the 1970s – then a loaf of bread that costs $1 this year will cost $1.10 the next year. Inflation in the United States has averaged around 3.29% from 1914 until 2016, but it reached an all-time high of 23.70% in June 1920 and a record low of -15.80% in June 1921. Most will remember the high inflation rates of the 70s and early 80s …

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