June 2011

George Washington Taxpayer owns 10 acres of land, four miles from the South Carolina coast, just a driver or two from the renowned Kiawah Golf Resort. Recent assessments (even in this dismal housing market) are solid seven figures, and the 25% or so of value mortgage has been overpaid every month for around ten years.

George and Martha have a totally clean credit rating, more than enough visible reported income, plenty of liquid, unencumbered assets, and a second building on their property that is used as an office for their very own, very private, very small business corporation.

The business has been “in the family” for more than thirty years, directly and indirectly employs about twenty other individuals and small businesses, and produces substantial, taxable income. It also pays rent and salaries to the Taxpayers.

George called Notquitesoquick Mortgage, LLC to re-finance his still barely “jumbo” loan — thinking, with a solid credit score, pretty impressive total documented income from all sources, a history of over paying, what could possibly go wrong?

Read (more…)

Adding the phrase “like a girl” to the end of whatever you were saying was a put-down, an insult, something to come to fisticuffs over. Little boys the world over hated being told that they, for example, “threw like a girl.” I’m not defending the statement, I certainly don’t agree with its intent, but hey, that’s been the case from the playground on up.

As far as women are concerned, investing belongs in the same category as childbearing, socializing, fundraising, community organization, and consensual leadership. It’s something that women may approach with trepidation, but the reality is they can be darn good at it.

Read (more…)

Caring for our pets can sometimes stretch budgets, we love our pets and are willing to do anything for them. Yahoo! Finance’s Farnoosh Torabi has rounded up some ways to save money on the care and feeding of our fluffy friends–from buying less food, choosing adoption, and learning some do-it-yourself grooming techniques.

Periodically, the stock markets go through a mid-cap and small-cap excitement. We are in such a stage currently. Over the last one year, the small- and mid-cap indices have outstripped the large cap indices by wide margins. This performance is also reflected in the typical mutual fund as well. The average large-cap focused funds are up while mid and small cap funds are up much more. There’s also no shortage of analysts proclaiming that the smaller companies is where the action is.

However, as always, investors need to be extremely wary of this space. Volatility and liquidity have always scuppered investors’ gains in this space, mostly because by the time the mass of investors notice the action, things are already over the hill. You can make money in these stocks, but you need to be careful.

So let me give you a different perspective on small and mid-cap performance. The Small Cap Index may have risen 200 per cent from the bottom in March 2009, but to reach that bottom, it had fallen to one fifth its value. It takes a lot more than a 200 per cent gain to wipe out that kind of a fall.

Read (more…)