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HOW SAFE ARE YOUR SAVINGS? - From PathToInvesting.org: With the financial markets in turmoil, people across the country are understandably concerned about the safety of their financial assets. While the U.S. Treasury works out the details of the rescue plan recently passed by Congress, you may find some peace of mind knowing that most bank and brokerage accounts are insured -- to a point --  in the event of bankruptcy - though you're still on the hook for market losses. In addition, Congress recently voted to temporarily raise deposit insurance coverage limits through December 31, 2009. In September 2008, after one large money market fund "broke the buck", the Treasury announced a new federal program to guarantee t...
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PLANNING FOR STAGES OF RETIREMENT - From FPA: Most of us know that retirement is something for which we must actively plan and save. Social Security alone isn't enough, and traditional pension plans that pay lifetime defined benefits are increasingly scarce. Yet the majority of Americans typically don't know how much to save and don't save enough, according to numerous polls and experts. People can expect to spend 15 to 35 years or more in retirement. That's a long time. What kind of retirement do you want to have? How should you spend money during retirement? How can you prepare for it and when should you start? A new FPA brochure addresses various stages of retirement planning, from starting out in the work world to retirement, in order to he...
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WHO GETS WORK RETIREMENT PLANS? - From ICI: Most workers who are likely to have the ability to save and to be focused primarily on saving for retirement have access to an employer-provided retirement plan, according to a new study by the Investment Company Institute. The study, Who Gets Retirement Plans and Why, takes a detailed look at the demographic and workforce factors that help determine whether an employer is likely to offer, and workers are likely to seek, deferred compensation in the form of retirement benefits to replace some cash compensation. Policymakers seeking to expand retirement plan coverage tend to focus on barriers that make plans more expensive for smaller employers. Although costs may play a role, the study finds that the likelihood that an employer...
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FED FORECLOSURE RESOURCES - From Federal Reserve: The Federal Reserve has several resources for consumers and small municipalities, housing counselors, and consumer and community groups in need of assistance regarding mortgage foreclosure. The Fed has established Foreclosure Resource Centers to help address local and regional challenges in their mortgage markets and local communities and a map of these resources can be found at the Mortgage Foreclosure Resources page of the Fed Web site. Resources from several agencies and organizations providing information that may be of use to consumers in distress are found at the Fed's special Web page ....
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INVESTING IN UNCERTAIN TIMES - From CFA Institute: In the wake of recent market turbulence and firm failures, CFA Institute, the global association for investment professionals, today issued five facts investors should know when making investment decisions. One key tip: Investing in a diversified portfolio of securities rather than individual stocks mitigates risk. Investing in only a few individual stocks increases risk for which an investor is not rewarded compared to investing in a diversified mutual fund or index fund. Investors should incorporate different asset classes and investment styles in their portfolio that do not tend to move together so that market swings in one part of their portfolio are offset in another part...
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BE STRONG: OPEN ACCOUNT STATEMENTS - Especially in a down market, investors may be tempted to try and avoid the trauma of seeing the reduced value of their holdings by not opening their statements for their brokerage, mutual fund, or 401(k) or other retirement plan accounts. It has even been suggested that avoiding looking at your statements may be a good way to respond to turbulent financial times. This advice may be comforting but ignoring your statements can blind you to problems in your accounts. No one can protect your accounts like you can, and so you need to open your statements and see what is going on in your account. A new investor podcast from FINRA explains why it is important to continue to pay attention to your account statements ...
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MARKET DOWNTURN PHISHING SCAMS - According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the upheaval in the financial marketplace may spur scam artists to "phish" for your personal information. If the recent changes in the financial marketplace have you confused, you're not alone.  Phishers (pronounced "fishers") may send attention-getting emails that look like they're coming from the financial institution that recently acquired your bank, savings and loan, or mortgage. Their intent is to collect or capture your personal information, like your credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information ...
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INVESTOR ALERT: MONEY MARKET FUNDS GUARANTEE - The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) wants to make sure the investing public understands the U.S. Treasury Department's Temporary Guarantee Program for Money Market Funds. The Treasury Department's program, which opened Sept. 29, protects money held in participating money market funds as of Sept. 19 if those money market funds "break the buck." A money market fund breaks the buck when its net asset value (NAV) falls below $1.00 per share. Investors cannot sign up for the guarantee program on their own   ...
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PREYING ON MARKET FEARS - The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) cautioned Main Street investors against making sudden and uninformed decisions amid the ongoing market volatility and unprecedented turmoil on Wall Street.  "We know from past experience that con artists follow the headlines to prey on the worries and fears of everyday investors," said NASAA President and Colorado Securities Commissioner Fred Joseph. "With the current economic situation, state securities regulators are concerned that scammers are gearing up to promote various investment schemes with promises of big returns. If history is any guide, these investments will be worth less than the paper on which they are printed." NASAA also offered several tips for investors ...
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SCAM WARNING FOR IKE VICTIMS - While natural disasters elicit financial donations and support from people across the country it also, unfortunately, creates an opportunity for con artists - those who may try to swindle you out of your money or scam you by offering fraudulent services. Do not give out your personal information or money to anyone without proper identification or proof they can do what they say they can. If someone approaches you and cannot provide appropriate identification, go to a disaster assistance site and ask for help. TomorrowsMoney.org recommends that you get copies of all financial transactions and commitments in writing and keep a small notebook to write down the names and contact information of people with whom you speak during this critical time of recovery and rebuilding ...
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