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Time for the torches and pitchforks

My recent column on High Frequency Trading talked about the President Clinton veto of a law that would have made it harder to initiate class action lawsuits and harder to prosecute individuals within corporations that effectively lied about their company’s financial condition. I was wrong about the year which I said was 2007. It was, in fact, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Revenge of the Nerds Thwarts High Frequency Traders

Walking around on what were perfect fairways at the Masters, a golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia, I learned that beneath the grass everywhere were perforated pipes connected to giant underground electric pumps. The system, which can sometimes be heard thrumming deep underground, sucked rain water down through the turf and left the fairways bone dry within hours after heavy storms.

Thirty or Under? Compound Interest Analysis Avoids Wasting Youth

I remember an old cartoon in the “New Yorker:” An older middle-aged man sitting in his armchair is saying to his spouse, “You wish we were rich? You should have mentioned that to me 40 years ago.” The point, of course, is that it’s easy to accumulate assets if you start early in life. To avoid having youth being wasted on their young, parents might consider sharing the following:

How to choose the right financial adviser

At what point might someone need a financial adviser? It depends largely on what we sense our particular weakness to be. Depending on the amount of money under management, a typical adviser will be charging, on an annual basis, somewhere between one-half to one full percentage point of assets under management, so with 100 percent certainty, we know that this amount of money will be subtracted from managed earnings -- in good years and in bad.

There're no guarantees in stock market

The financial industry is filling the world with a plethora of products that involve guaranteed returns in a variety of shapes and sizes. Starting with annuities that guarantee a monthly lifetime income, there are a number of new inventions that offer protection against falling stock markets -- products that guarantee, for example, that we will "always get back at least what we had invested originally."

Taking a page from my own book

There's a new book available from Amazon and other vendors both in Kindle and hardback form. It's titled "Roadmap to Retirement Security: How to Build and Conserve Retirement Wealth" by Stephen J. Butler. A promotional blurb on the front cover says, "Considering its subject matter, I found your book to be surprisingly pleasant to read."

Random thoughts, Herb Caen style

Herb Caen was a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle for 53 years ending in 1991. He sometimes offered what he called my "thoughts while shaving," which introduced a potpourri of random ideas he considered to be column-worthy.

Today I'll offer an entire column of my own thoughts while shaving as they relate to what is happening in the stock market and the economy in general. And by the way, this August will mark the end of the 16th year that I have been serving as your weekly financial gossip provider. I'm closing in on Herb's record.

Time to rebalance investment portfolio

One New Year's resolution worthy of consideration is an annual rebalancing of investments in our IRAs and other retirement plans. While almost every mutual fund invested in stocks is showing gains for the year, some have done better than others -- some far better, like health care and technology funds up more than 50 percent. Selling portions of some of our relative winners and adding more to the shares of our relative losers is counterintuitive, but we just have to hold our noses and take the plunge.

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