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Know the Signs! Pyramids and Ponzis...

Thank you Bernie Madoff! Bernie Madoff set the news on fire with a $50 billion Ponzi scheme for which he recently went to prison. Since then, a number of other financial schemes have come to light: Allen Sanford, Joseph Forte, even the Yacht scheme. But what are Ponzi schemes? How are they different from Pyramid schemes (and Matrix Schemes)? And, most importantly, what are the signs of each?

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Betting on Inflation: 2009 Inflation Expectations

In an earlier article, I detailed how you could check on inflation expectations using information publicly available from the Department of the Treasury. Using the data they provide, it is simple to calculate the market's expectations for inflation over the next 5, 7, 10, and 20 Year periods. Let's take another look not at the 2009 inflation rate, but the expected inflation rate of the future viewed through '2009' colored glasses.

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Exotic Investing: Closed End Funds

Oftentimes the best place to look for value is in a place few others know to look.

Go ahead and quote that; I just made it up. Closed end funds are an often overlooked place in the market for your investment funds. CEFs are mutual funds which trade on exchanges and lack the price arbitrage functions of Exchange Traded Funds. This means that Closed End Funds can be (and often are) priced significantly differently from their underlying assets.

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Carnivals, Week of July 20th

Our article "Jevon's Paradox, and More Ado About Gas Taxes" was featured in the OneMint Economy and Your Finances Carnival. Go check out the carnival, and the OneMint blog.

"Debt: Invest in Yours" was a featured article at LivingAlmostLarge, which is hosting the 201st Carnival of Debt Reduction. The site's host, LAL, poses an excellent question, however: "...if you pay off debt with a windfall, how do you know you won’t do it again?" If you know the answer, post a comment over there.

"Putting a Mortgage in Reverse" is included in the 74th edition of the Money Hacks Carnival, over at Suburban Dollar. Check it out!

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The Asset Allocation Bell Tolls

The way the financial community seems to be covering it, we are currently attending the funeral of Asset Allocation. Long live Asset Allocation!

A common topic on financial pages world wide web wide (a cheer for alliteration?) is about the supposed death of asset allocation. Asset Allocation is the idea that the best retirement play for most investors is to allocate financial resources among a number of investment baskets. Supposedly by spreading one's investments across a diverse set of asset classes it is possible to catch the hot performance in any corner of the market while absorbing any shocks in other corners. Of course, the uninspiring performance of asset classes during the 'Great Recession' seem to throw this theory into question. Read on and decide for yourself if we need to find some pallbearers for this financial heavyweight.

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When in Doubt... Sue Yourself!

Before I read this article, I could not imagine a scenario which would lead a company to sue itself. Yes; you read that correctly. Wells Fargo is suing itself in Florida in order to facilitate the foreclosure of a property in which it has multiple liens.

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Investing in Real Estate

Investing in real estate? Too Soon!

Just kidding. Real estate investing is not limited to house 'flipping' or becoming a landlord. There are other ways to play real estate - to the downside or the upside. Real estate investing can cover much more than simply buying residential property to rent or resell. Read on for a look at a few of those 'other' forms.

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Carnivals, Week of July 13th

Our article, "Investing in the 79th Element", is hosted over at Man vs. Debt for the Carnival of Personal Finance! Go check it out, the theme is New Zealand!

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Investing in the 79th Element

Gold, the 79th element in the periodic table, is perhaps the most controversial of any investments. Every investor seems to have an opinion on the metal. Some people, particularly enamored with the constitution, read into it the necessity for the government to only issue gold (and silver) coins.

Regardless of your viewpoint on the legality of fiat currency, perhaps you have decided to invest some of your hard earned funds into the stuff. There are many ways to approach investing in gold; I will lay out a few approaches to gold investing in this article.

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On Cigarette Laws and Pigovian Taxes, Part II

This is part two of a two part series discussing cigarette laws and pigovian taxes. Pigovian taxes are excise taxes placed on a market to correct a market income, presumably because a negative externality such as health risk or pollution that is inherent in the good traded.

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