Saturday

2011 Results - S&P 500 Loses Less Than 1%

2011 is now in the books and the S&P 500 lost less than 1%.

If you held some dividend paying stocks, ETF's and mutual funds (and you should have), you made a few percent in 2011.

Do yourself a favor, compare that with the results from your brokerage account to see if what you are paying your financial guy is worth it ?!

My guess is that it won't be.  You'll see that your account probably lost a few percent.  The difference?  Commissions, concessions, churning and fees.

Make the move in 2012 to handle your own account, its a lot easier than the investerati would have you believe and you'll be certain that the person who cares the most about your money is handling it - YOU !!

Thursday

How We Used To Sell Mutual Funds With a Load and Why

There are many types of mutual funds but in the end it comes down to no-load or load.  No load funds cost nothing to buy or sell.  Loaded funds are either front end loaded which cost you immediately to buy them (sometimes referred to as A shares) or back end loaded which have a surrender period up to five or so years (sometimes referred to as B shares).

We used to sell loaded mutual funds simply because they paid us the most.  We used to convince people to buy these products using smartly crafted literature from the mutual fund wholesaler which pointed out that their fund was the best over this period of time and therefore .... you get the picture.

Here's the scary part, after we would SELL you a mutual fund with a front end load of say 4-5%, we would then  put you in the rolodex to call back in a year or so to sell that mutual fund and buy another, this time a B share fund and tell you there was no cost to you.

This was technically true because you already paid 4-5% a year ago and probably forgot about it (if you ever knew in the first place) and now you bought the second mutual fund which has a back end load of another 4-5%.

We just made 9-10% commission on your money!

If anyone asks you to buy a mutual fund, get the symbol and check at yahoo finance or directly with the mutual fund company regarding the commission, if any, surrender charges, etc.

Remember, no one cares as much about your money as you do, invest by yourself and for yourself.