The news has certainly been bleak. Investors are left dazed and confused, trying to determine whether the worst is behind us or yet to come.
Recent selected headlines include . . .
"We were comfortably well off, and we wanted to release some of the funds we had tied up in our home." – Mrs. Carolann Prast explaining why she and her husband took out a reverse mortgage on their home. – The Wall Street Journal 11/13/2007
I have become somewhat of an expert on reverse mortgages, not by any deep knowledge I have of the products but because so few people understand them at all. I recently told the Los Angeles Times:
More than 30 million Americans are RVing these days. But as romantic as it may appear, would-be buyers or renters of recreational vehicles need to do more than test drive a “home on wheels” before joining the avid community of those who live life on the road.
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One of the best investments you can make for a loved one — whether a child, grandchild, niece or nephew — is an investment in his or her educational future. College graduates with a bachelor’s degree typically earn twice as much, over a lifetime, as those with a high school diploma.1
“A single observation can invalidate a general statement derived from millennia of confirmatory sightings of millions of white swans. All you need is a single black [one].”
From “The Black Swan”
By Nassim Taleb (2007)
Mr. Taleb’s book focuses on being fooled by randomness, a concept more recently referred to as [sic] ..separating signal from noise. A timely question would be ‘ Is the current crisis in banking and mortgages a “black swan”?
As the subprime lending mess sorts itself out, there will be plenty of conflicting signals in weeks ahead on what you should do with real estate and your investment picture as a whole. Most of the advice will be knee-jerk.
If you are over 65 and enrolled in Medicare, or if your parents (or grandparents) are over 65 and enrolled in Medicare, check on coverage for prescription drugs and make any changes during the Medicare Part D open enrollment period, November 15-December 31, 2007.
To be sure, you have time to get your financial act together before 2007 ends. But not much time. Here’s a recap of what we suggest doing:
Fix your portfolio. Year-end is the perfect time to rebalance your portfolio. At a minimum, investors should revisit (or create if they don’t have one) their true portfolio allocation and their risk tolerance questionnaire to see if any changes need to be made to the asset allocation. A risk tolerance questionnaire is designed to take the emotion out of investing and keep the investor on track, regardless of what the market or the economy is doing. In some cases, rebalancing will be required because the percent invested in certain assets exceeds the limits established in the stated investment objective. In other cases, circumstances may have changed, requiring changes in the percent invested in asset classes.
America is a nation of givers. In 2005 (the latest data available), more than $260 billion was given to charity and more than 75% of these donations came from individuals.1