Investing — It’s OK to Have Some Fun

In a recent column I exposed my own portfolio and its daring dullness. It is that very dullness which, I believe, is the key to its success. Still, beneath this dull exterior beats the heart of “The Gambler.” Even yours truly gets the occasional urge to buy that risky stock, offering the possibility of a 1,000 percent return, and sometimes I just can’t resist acting on that thrill-seeking urge. That’s why I carve out a small piece of my portfolio …

Your Birth Month Could Affect Your Disease Risk

Did you celebrate a birthday last month? Congratulations. You were born in the month with the lowest lifetime risk of disease. That’s one of the findings of an intriguing new Columbia University study that found an association between birth month and risk of disease. Although a link between when birth month and some conditions, such as asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), has been found in past, smaller studies, the Columbia researchers designed a computer algorithm to take a …

Brokered CDs: Worth Exploring for Good Rates

If you want to earn more on your “safe” money than you can get from buying certificates of deposits directly from a bank, you might want to consider something called brokered CDs. Although going directly to banks to buy high-paying CDs with easy early withdrawal penalties is still my core strategy for safe-money investing, I’ve started adding brokered CDs for my clients’ portfolios and my own. Brokered CDs are certificates of deposit sold through brokerage firms such as Fidelity, Schwab …

Why Angelina Jolie Chose to Have Her Ovaries Removed

Nearly two years after announcing she had gotten a preventive double mastectomy and encouraging women to get tested for the BRCA1 breast cancer gene, actress and director Angelina Jolie says she has had her ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed to reduce her risk of ovarian cancer, the disease that killed her mother at age 56. As she did in 2013, Jolie wrote an essay for the New York Times explaining that she carries a gene that gives her “an estimated …

Lending to Relatives? What You Need to Consider

Sonny has bad credit and needs a small business loan. Of course you want to help, but can you make the payments or afford losing collateral if he defaults? Your daughter is going through a divorce and she needs the security deposit for her new apartment. If you give it to her, can you count on her to pay it back? Auntie wants to go to Las Vegas and has asked her children, nieces and nephews to pitch in so …

Are You a Risk-Taker? Don’t Be Fooled by Bull Market

I’ve filled out more than a few risk-profile questionnaires over the years. These forms are supposed to measure how much investment risk you’re comfortable with, such as what percentage of your portfolio should be in risky stocks versus low-risk bonds. Every questionnaire I’ve ever done has pegged me as a living-on-the-edge kind of guy who should have between 70 percent and 91 percent of my money in stocks or stock funds. And that’s the problem. In reality, only 45 percent of my money is in stock and stock funds, …