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The Independent Investor: Don't Take Loans From Your Tax-Deferred Accounts
By Bill Schmick,
04:49PM / Thursday, May 23, 2019
It sounds too good to be true. Why borrow from a bank when you can take a loan out from your 401(k) or 403(b) and pay yourself back in both interest and principal? If that sounds like a great deal, it's not.   Money purchase plans, profit-sharing plans, 457(b) plans and both 401(k) and 403(b) plans may offer loans, but IRAs, SEP IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs do not. The IRS does have some restrictions on the borrowing. It limits how much you can borrow at any one time. In general, you are limited to the smaller of 50 percent of your vested account balance, or $50,000. However, there is one exception (hardship) that allows you to borrow up to $10,000 even if it exceeds 50 percent

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The Independent Investor: Epidemic Pulls Pork Prices Higher
By Bill Schmick,
05:38PM / Thursday, May 16, 2019
The African swine fever could cause prices in China to spike 70 percent or more this year. The highly infectious disease is spreading throughout Asia and could lead to a large increase in the price of pork here at home as well.   Before you ask, this highly infectious virus, while deadly to pigs, is not harmful to humans. The problem is that when even one pig is tested positive, the entire herd needs to be slaughtered as quickly as possible. There is no cure.   The government is taking this epidemic seriously, and well it should. Tough new government rules have been implemented this month in Chinese slaughterhouses and processing plants to identify and test for

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The Independent Investor: What Does Your 401(k) Investments Look Like?
By Nate Tomkiewicz and Bill Schmick,
05:14PM / Thursday, May 09, 2019
It might surprise you to know that many retirement savers religiously contribute to their tax-deferred savings plans but have no idea what investments they own. Many plan representatives simply suggest that if you don't know, just invest in a target date retirement fund. Is this a good idea?   Most 401(k)s and 403(B)s plans, for example, have between 20 and 30 investment options you can choose from.  This menu of choices normally includes bond and stock funds as well as international funds. There are also balanced or blended funds, which invest in a mixture of stocks and bonds. Many plans also have some kind of annuity-like investment as well as target date

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The Independent Investor: What You Need to Know (But Don't) About Buying an IPO
By Bill Schmick,
05:42PM / Thursday, May 02, 2019
An initial public offering of a stock, called an IPO, can be either a sucker's game or a chance for instant riches. Determining the outcome requires a great deal of work, knowledge, and luck. Most investors have none of the above when it comes to IPOs.   I want to share with you a recent conversation I had with a conservative client (a vegetarian and yoga teacher) on this subject.   "I want to buy some stock of this company that makes a vegetarian form of hamburgers. How do I do it?" she asked.   "Why do you want to buy it?" I asked, before explaining the mechanics of such a purchase.   "Well, it tastes

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The Independent Investor: CBD Is a Real Market
By Bill Schmick,
05:28PM / Thursday, April 25, 2019
Cannabidiol is popping up all over the country. Local drug stores, supermarkets and health food shops, among other retailers, can't seem to get enough of this stuff on the shelves. Is this a fad, a fake, or does it have some real health benefits?   It's called CBD, for short, and this oil can be eaten, inhaled, and/or applied to the skin.  It is a substance extracted from the flowers and buds of the marijuana and hemp plant. And no, before you ask, you can't get high from it.     Back in the day, (when I had hair to my shoulders, along with my buckskin jacket) I simply smoked marijuana or ate it in cookies. It contained THC. THC, a

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