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Should you stash money overseas?

Grand Cayman Island, a British protectorate and the Switzerland of the Caribbean, about 100 miles south of Cuba, seems to reek of money, with a population of only 30,000 permanent residents and what seems like a fleet of new Jaguars, Porsches and Ferraris roaring around the narrow streets. My wife and I find our way to this paradise to visit our son, who is in veterinary school there.

Time to revisit tolerance for risk

With the market off 5% over the past few weeks, this could be a good time to revisit our tolerance for risk. Those of us who periodically check total values of our retirement accounts have been experiencing a smug sense of satisfaction over the past three years. Our values- assuming if we have stayed the course in stocks and didn’t panic – have returned to the levels reached at the height of the 1990’s boom. The system has worked and we have been rewarded for our patience and staying power.

Vote as if picking a money manager

"Unlike Arnold, I've taken real bullets," said Jackie Speier in a campaign speech recently as she runs for the office of lieutenant governor of California. Speier, as some may recall, was a young government aide gunned down in Guyana while investigating the People's Temple conditions. Speier survived to go on to a life of accomplishment in politics.

Health questions? Query a caddie

When I asked him about his experience of the British National Health Service last week, my caddie at Saint Andrews golf course in Scotland said, "It's a good system, but it doesn't work."

Monty Python couldn't have said it better. In the course of a week of golf, I made it a point to ask every caddie or walking tour guide about his or her experience with the government health care delivery system.

Why? Because to compete in a global economy, we will have to offer something similar in the years ahead.

Mutual fund firms should end conflict

Here's an idea that might put a stop to excessive executive compensation: Let's make it a crime for mutual funds investing in a company to also generate revenue from that company for performing investment advisory or retirement plan administrative services.

In other words, if a mutual fund family has funds investing in a specific company, they should no longer be allowed to generate any additional, unrelated source of revenue from that company.

A business relationship that sets up a conflict of interest should be illegal.

Save your way into the millionaire club

Saving a million dollars will support a pretty eccentric personal lifestyle.

If you wanted to live on just the income for a while, you could expect to make about 6 percent, or $60,000, a year on your million dollars without dipping into the principal.

Life could be sweet -- and it could all happen well before "normal retirement age."

I have bumped some numbers around to illustrate how people in varying circumstances can generate that illusive $1 million sooner and easier than they think.

SEC to shine light on executives' pay

"Excrescence" is the word that comes to mind when I read about the $686 million we stockholders paid to one man -- Lee Raymond, the chief executive of Exxon Mobile -- over the past 13 years.

Coincidentally, the people of Alaska are now struggling to collect a final $100 million for the damage caused by the Exxon Valdez oil spill 17 years ago. They have so far collected $800 million; this last $100 million is part of an agreement that left the final settlement open-ended.

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