Diversification in a 401K Plan – Part 1


Do 401K retirement plans offer adequate choices, or are you getting taken for a ride? There was a formal academic study done a few years by  Martin Gruber and Edwin Elton of New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business, and Christopher Blake of Fordham University's Graduate School of Business.  The authors proposed that a good 401K plan should offer varied choices like: International stock funds and International bond mutual funds high-quality and/or high-yielding domestic bonds Large-Cap growth and Large-Cap value mutual funds Small-cap and Mid-cap growth funds and value funds Well, I haven't been with many employers, but in speaking with friends and family, some 401K plans at larger companies may offer all of the … [Read more...]

Google Finance versus Yahoo Finance


Must confess that I'm not much for in-depth wonky stock analysis, regression charts, Elliott waves, Kondratieff cycles and grand Dow theories. The simple stock screener offered by the Google finance page is plenty good for some ideas, and plenty good for me.  I really like its basic stock graphs, where the timelines can quickly be adjusted to different time lines (1yr, 5yr, etc.), or comparative stocks or indexes added. I like the Yahoo finance page for different reasons, for its headlines, its inclusion of the daily oil and gold prices along with the other major indicators like the Dow Jones, S&P, etc. The section "Focus on Lifelong Investing" is always good for a good story, sometimes in the what-not-to-do category if you're a … [Read more...]

Oklahoma Food Coop

Oklahoma Food Cooperative If you live in Oklahoma, give them a look. Support your local farmers. Yoghurt Cheese, fresh pecans, grass-fed beef,  organic locally produced food, crafts and lots of other items. … [Read more...]

Compost Bins


Some pictures of our compost piles.  The main one I built out of surplus 1x4 cedar fencing boards, with some 2x4's in the base, and cheap plastic netting.  The most expensive part were the hinges in the front to allow easy access for turning the compost pile. The other piles are just chicken wire "bins", full of leaves that we collected around the neighborhood last winter.  The leaves sat and slowly composted anaerobically until this spring and summer, where I used them as "browns" up bit by bit, adding them to freshly cut lawn grass, or "greens". … [Read more...]

New Seeds for the Garden

territorial kale

Received today in the mail from Territorial Seed Company.... I'm thinking that a the 4 x 4 SFG bed will be sown with lettuce, kale and spinach.  Perhaps even with a hoop house over it, to see if we can make it through the winter. It's sowing time this weekend.  Fall gardening. … [Read more...]

Debt Advice from the Federal Government

(  This is straight from inside a Kafka novel, almost can't make this up.... ) Personal Finance Advice from the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Protection Battalion (they might be  a division, but I just downgraded them). Before You File for Personal Bankruptcy: Information About Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Produced in cooperation with the Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 launched a new era: With limited exceptions, people who plan to file for bankruptcy protection must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within 180 days before they file. They also must complete a debtor education course to have their debts … [Read more...]

Cream Cheese Inflation

Seems like not too long ago, a standard pack of store brand cream cheese could be had for 99 cents.  Now it's more like $1.68.   Lender's refrigerated bagels,  a buck or so a couple years ago, now $1.43.  This is a Walmart's Neighborhood Market, not the most foodiest place around. How's that deflation thing working out again, Mr. Bernanke? … [Read more...]

Overheard at a Garage Sale

At a garage sale this past weekend, my wife and I couldn't help but overhear a conversation between the person holding the sale and a neighbor.  The speaker was a nice lady of middle age with two teenager kids, who were minding the sale. It turns out the lady's husband husband had died earlier this year of lymphoma cancer.  "Well, he had no life insurance, and I'm down to bare bones.  I'll probably have to either sell the house or walk away from it, I can't make the mortgage payments". We left about then, sadly enough there was not much worth buying at the sale. Folks, if you have a family, try your best to get life insurance. Plain vanilla term life is OK, and don't let the salesmen talk you into whole life policies with investment … [Read more...]

Investing Resources: Modern Graham

I'm going to do a series of posts on favorite websites that I use to research stocks, mostly natural resources and high-dividend equities. Modern Graham is a site that I spend some time on occasionally, and which led me to investing in a stock which has done very well for us, EV Energy Partners. This is the blurb from the "about" section: Goal It is the goal of ModernGraham.com to study and modernize the theories of Benjamin Graham. History ModernGraham.com started with a simple discussion about Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor and its continued relevance today. After the discussion, Benjamin Clark studied the methods put forward by Graham and modified them slightly to meet the needs and conditions of the current … [Read more...]

401K Loans: good idea or bad idea?

Is taking out a loan against your 401(k) retirement plan a good idea, or a daft looney-tunes crackpot personal finance move? A short web search will disgorge dozens of articles that argue for the latter.  There are some advantages, but the general conclusions is that the cons outweigh the pros. Advantages include no credit checks (you're borrowing from yourself), the interest rate is usually low, about one or two points above prime, and perhaps the nicest thing, the interest you're paying is to yourself, it goes right back into the 401K and is tax-deferred until withdrawal time.    Read More .... … [Read more...]