Why the Latest S&P Downgrade of New Jersey is a Big Deal

downgrade of new jersey
The sad part is, I don’t think I’m being too hyperbolic comparing the future of New Jersey’s finances to the explosion of the Hindenburg, which coincidentally happened in New Jersey

The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s recently downgraded the state of New Jersey once again. This downgrade is far more perilous to the municipal bond market than average investors realize. As a former municipal bond trader myself, here’s my take on what the downgrade of New Jersey means for investors and residents of the state. Continue reading “Why the Latest S&P Downgrade of New Jersey is a Big Deal”

Am I Missing Out on Investing in Startups?

investing in startupsWe take kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites as facts of life now. However, that didn’t always used to be the case. The birth of crowdfunding was when President Obama passed the JOBS act in 2012. This piece of legislation made it easier for average people to invest in startups through crowdfunding. So now that investing in startups is a real consideration for most people, should you do it? Continue reading “Am I Missing Out on Investing in Startups?”

What’s Going to Happen to the Markets with President Trump

markets with president trumpThe unthinkable appears to be happening. Barring some unexpected change to the way things are trending, we will wake up to a President-elect Donald Trump. This has some profound implications for markets, and so many people have asked me what to do on Facebook I’ve decided to post this late last night.  Continue reading “What’s Going to Happen to the Markets with President Trump”

The Millennial Moola Show Episode 3: Emergency Election Edition

It occurred to me that this episode I recorded of The Millennial Moola Show will be irrelevant after Tuesday evening. I wanted to break down a detailed account of the candidate’s personal finances, which are among the most corrupt and troublesome of any in our country’s history. Regardless of your politics, I sure wish we had folks running for the highest office in the land that cared more about doing what was right. Even so, both the pro and anti sides of each candidate will find something to like about this episode.  Continue reading “The Millennial Moola Show Episode 3: Emergency Election Edition”

This is How to Spot a Student Loan Scam

spot a student loan scam

Check out this guest post from my business website, Student Loan Planner, on the horrible scams going on in the student loan industry.

I found the picture above by searching “student loan advisor” on craigslist job boards. The firm that listed the post was hiring “CLOSERS ONLY.” There are so many dishonest businesses out there in this industry, I’m going to teach you how to spot a student loan scam. Unfortunately, the scum of the earth have moved out of the no income no job no assets mortgage business into the student loan consolidation business. If you’ve ever seen “Obama Student Loan Forgiveness” or “Secret Government Student Loan Program,” you’ve witnessed these scammers in action. Here’s how to watch out for them, and how to know that I’m not one of them. Continue reading “This is How to Spot a Student Loan Scam”

Make a Difference, Volunteer with Junior Achievement

volunteer with junior achievementI’m currently living in St. Louis, Missouri, home to an incredible startup community that helped create my shockingly successful student loan business. Real talk: it’s also home to some of the greatest socioeconomic and racial inequalities anywhere in the country. I realized that I needed to do something more than just write articles to help people learn about personal finance. Many of the young, mostly white professionals we met in St. Louis told us never to venture into the North part of the city above Delmar Boulevard. After hearing that, I decided that was the most important place to help. I challenge my fellow bloggers and anyone who has received financial education through Millennial Moola to give back and volunteer with Junior Achievement.  Continue reading “Make a Difference, Volunteer with Junior Achievement”

The Most Expensive Birthday Card You’ll Ever Get

expensivebdaycard

My granddad had a financial advisor who always sent a card on his birthday. At the time, I thought it was so nice that a financial professional would take the time to write a hand written card wishing my granddad well and thanking him for his business. After spending years in the financial services industry, I realize now that in most cases, when your advisor remembers your birthday, it’s the most expensive birthday card you’ll ever get. Continue reading “The Most Expensive Birthday Card You’ll Ever Get”

The Innovation that Could Kill Vanguard

innovation that could kill vanguard
Direct indexing smokes traditional indexing after taxes. Vanguard should be very worried

A small startup named Wealthfront has created an innovation that could kill Vanguard, the company that popularized the index fund in the mid 1970s. Ever since, the investing world has never been the same. I saw a report that Vanguard had taken in more than 100% of the industry cash flow for 2016. That means that the ENTIRE mutual fund industry has fewer deposits this year in aggregate than Vanguard. That’s because customers are withdrawing their money out of high fee funds. Sitting atop trillions of assets under management, what does a behemouth like Vanguard have to fear? It’s called direct indexing.  Continue reading “The Innovation that Could Kill Vanguard”

How to Handle Vicious Robocalls

vicious robocalls

I made a major mistake when I registered my site online. I’m extremely frugal as most of you who are frequent readers know. Unfortunately, that frugality sometimes manifests itself in being penny wise but pound foolish. If your personal information is ever publicly exposed on the world wide web, you will get vicious robocalls. Here’s what happened to me. Continue reading “How to Handle Vicious Robocalls”

Active Management is the Anti Robin Hood

active management
These gentlemen were probably charitable compared to how much money active managers take from working people today

I recently read that New Jersey’s pension fund paid over $700 million in investment management fees in 2015, almost all to active managers.  New Jersey’s pension is horribly underfunded, and over 800,000 middle class people depend on the system for a secure retirement. Somehow, the state has the money to pay active managers three quarters of a billion dollars to underperform the S&P 500 index fund. Essentially, active management is the anti Robin Hood. These folks take from the poor to make themselves richer. Continue reading “Active Management is the Anti Robin Hood”