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Mick Weinstein
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Mick was editor-in-chief and VP of Content at Seeking Alpha from November 2005 to April 2010. He's now the head of content at Covestor. Contact him by emailing mbweinstein (at) gmail.com or follow him on Twitter (http://twitter.com/mickwe) or on his Tumblog (mickw.com).
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  • Moving on from Seeking Alpha
    I have a personal announcement. After four and a half incredibly rewarding years at Seeking Alpha, I'll be moving to a new position at the end of April. I'm joining an exciting new project out of JVP's Media Studio that is not yet public, but soon will be.

    I'm leaving with a great sense of professional accomplishment for what our relatively small editorial team achieved. We've built nothing less than a new type of media outlet from the ground up, adjusting agilely as we've scaled over the years. Starting from a simple Wordpress blog, we now offer an elegant, robust, comprehensive online service, reaching over three million monthly users who come to SA for what remains a unique product: informed, candid discussion of investing and the broader market.

    During a period when older media companies struggled mightily to keep legacy models viable, we built an entirely new editorial model, based on our conviction that market participants offer a uniquely valuable voice to augment traditional journalism. Thank you most sincerely to our loyal readers and contributors for all of your support and feedback while we developed all aspects of our editorial platform during this time.

    On a personal note, I feel extremely grateful to have worked alongside the amazing people at Seeking Alpha. A special thanks to David for giving me the opportunity to run this show as I saw fit from the beginning. I have no doubt that great things remain in store for Seeking Alpha.

    The extraordinarily talented Eli Hoffmann will take over as Editor in Chief of SA when I leave. I wish my good friend Eli the very best.

    ~ Mick
    Apr 08 9:38 AM | Link | 22 Comments
  • Income investing in a zero yield environment
    Venture capitalist Fred Wilson found himself with some incoming cash and wanted to park it in an interest bearing money market account. But there's just no interest in money market accounts now - zero percent.
    So what to do when your bank is paying you 0.00%? Well as I said at the start of this post, I like a portfolio of highly rated (AA and AAA) municipal bonds. In this low rate environment, I like the stub end of a long term muni bond that has a year or two left on it. You pay a premium to its face value to buy it and when it pays off, you will get less than you paid for it. But in the interim you'll get a decent tax free yield and all in, including the loss on the purchase price, over the one or two year hold period you can get 2% to 2.5% tax free. I don't recommend trying to buy these bonds yourself. Find a good manager who has been doing it for years to do this for you...

    rates are at historical lows. You can't really go below 0.00% without having to pay someone to take your cash from you. It's a dangerous time. Don't chase yields.
    Muni bonds are one option, but not everyone has such a manager available. What if you are recently retired, and after a lifetime of saving up enough principal to live off your investments' yield at this stage, you find that there's very little yield to be had even in safe, short-term fixed income? Meanwhile, inflation's running at over 2% - so selling other assets (with, likely, a tax bill) to enter munis at 2-2.5% doesn't seem so attractive.

    We thought this topic deserved deeper treatment on SA, and we wanted to open it up for discussion from our community. So please join us on Wednesday at 2pm EST for a live discussion with three money managers and fixed income experts - Roger Nusbaum, David Merkel and John Lounsbury - who will describe how they're advising their retired and close-to-retired clients at this stage, and will respond to your questions and comments.


    Mar 15 10:07 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Better Trades scam
    In his latest missive to investors and friends, Whitney Tilson rails against a service called 'Better Trades' that's being marketed aggressively on cable TV. Tilson Tivo'd it and put up on YouTube - check it out. Tilson:

    The last thing I need is another crusade, but this one really boils my blood... I became more disgusted as I watched: testimonials from average-looking people (no doubt shills) claiming to make $400/day or $100,000/year (only in VERY fine print does it say that these results aren’t typical), former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson selling his soul pitching this scam, etc.

    This is a blindingly obvious fraud and it must be victimizing A LOT of people to be running so many infomercials and Expos – and it’s operating in plain sight!  The infomercials are running regularly on CW11 and the “Financial Freedom Expos” are all over the country (see: www.bettertrades.com).  It’s also clear who the target of this scam is: not folks who perhaps could afford this useless scheme that will rapidly incinerate money (which is what happens to just about anyone who trades options), but folks who can’t.

    Tilson's right of course. The program looks downright dangerous, preying on unsophisticated investors at a time when they can least afford bad financial advice (but of course, it's also a time when the demand for get rich quick schemes is highest). Here's how Tilson suggests we respond:

    1) If you know anyone at the SEC, and consumer protection agency, or a state attorneys general office, forward this email or give me that person’s contact info.

    2) If you’re in the media, start digging.  Write an article.  Show up with a camera crew at one of these Expos.  Call the SEC and ask why they haven’t shut this down.

     

    Mar 15 3:17 AM | Link | Comment!
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