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The Independent Investor: It Is No Longer Enough to Simply Manage Money
By Bill Schmick,
03:37PM / Thursday, May 24, 2018
Back in the day, money managers were revered. News stories spotlighting the year's "hottest hands," or that hedge fund's rising star were all the rage. Retail investors chased performance and paid for it. But times are changing, and simply beating the market for a year or two fails to impress most investors.   And with good reason.   Most of us are in the investment game for the long haul. We are saving for retirement: a process involving decades of saving and planning. Chasing the firm or adviser that "beat the market" this year has turned out to be a disastrous approach to that concept.   Most of us have now realized

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The Independent Investor: Are Americans Saving Enough for Retirement?
By Bill Schmick,
05:00PM / Thursday, May 17, 2018
If you simply read the headlines, you would assume that over half of Americans aged 55 and over, have no savings as they approach retirement. That's a dramatic statement, but is it true?   Most statisticians derive that data by adding up those who have an IRA or similar tax-deferred savings account such as a 401(k). The latest data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank's Survey of Consumer Finance indicated that 53 percent of households, age 55 to 64, had some savings in those tax-deferred accounts. So, yes, by that standard, almost half of all Americans fail the savings test.   But what about all the people who work for the government? There are 22

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The Independent Investor: What's Up With Oil?
By Bill Schmick,
11:00AM / Friday, May 11, 2018
Two years ago, the experts were telling us that the price of oil would continue to fall. Twelve-dollar oil was a real possibility. The end of OPEC was nigh as well as their ability to influence geopolitics. It appears those predictions were premature.   The price of oil has more than doubled over that time, from roughly $30 a barrel in the spring of 2016 to over $71 a barrel today for West Texas Intermediate crude. Those same experts now expect the price could gain further, but there is no agreement on how much higher it can go.   The "swing" factor in that equation is firmly in the hands of American shale producers. They are the culprit of the past

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The Independent Investor: Financial Scams Targeted at Elderly Are Epidemic
By Bill Schmick,
04:50PM / Thursday, May 03, 2018
As Baby Boomers age, the volume of reported financial scams directed against them continues to escalate. By some estimates, more than $37 billion a year is now being stolen from America's elderly. And those are only the reported cases.   It is estimated that 5 million Americans are bilked by con artists every year. Some financial firms believe the total can exceed $37.5 billion annually. The Office of Children and Family Services in New York begs to disagree. They say that in their state alone $1.5 billion a year is stolen. And for every case that is reported, 44 are not.   Aside from the impact of losing their entire savings, elder fraud victims are dying

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The Independent Investor: The Opioid Effect
By Bill Schmick,
06:29PM / Thursday, April 26, 2018
Opioids are killing us. Both literally, as well as from an economic point of view. The economy has already suffered over $1 trillion in lost potential and those losses appear to be growing by the hour.   Last year, 62,000 Americans fatally overdosed on some form of opioid. It is getting to the point that almost every one of us knows someone who is either addicted or died from these drugs. However, while death is a tragedy, we tend to ignore how much this problem is costing our society.   "You can't put a price tag on the death of a loved one," we say, but actually we can. It's called the "value of a Statistical Life," or VSL. Federal

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