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  • Does My 5.8% Yield Portfolio Have Ideas That You Should Steal? (A Portfolio Review) [View article]
    A few years ago, I sold out of Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM), an ADR stock. My dividends were taxed at 20%. Here's some pertinent info on Taiwanese stocks trading on US exchanges.

    Some brokerage firms trade directly on the Taiwanese exchange. If you're interested in this sort of foreign trading, then you will have to research brokerage firms that will do this for you. They should be able to inform you on dividend taxes when you trade directly. Hope this will be of assistance to you.
    Jul 9, 2015. 02:05 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Dividend Growth Investing: The Perfect Portfolio Moving Forward (Part 1) [View article]
    Dave, you are Mah-veh-lous! You've done an exceptional job on your investments. I do own some of same stocks in your portfolio. I believe they will be around for a very long time.

    I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your writing. And writing about your family is, in effect, good reasons why we're doing our best to protect our loved ones from financial disasters.

    Your future financial projections stand a good chance of coming to fruition providing we're not dragged into any major wars or have another market meltdown. I'm always reminded that change is a constant which is hard to plug into your math. Even if you were to come close to your figures, that would still be quite acceptable.
    May 29, 2015. 12:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • E-Cigs May Be Just What The Doctor Ordered For Your Retirement Portfolio [View article]
    I have no doubt, the big tobacco firms are already formulating plans to get into the weed business. Presently, we have a few states that are allowing them, and the markets are fragmented but growing. Here in California, where I live, one city close by has opened its first store, but there are others within a hour or two of driving distance. The prices are high. This is where the big boys of tobacco can deal with lower costs. They will have the financial means to produce in quantity as well as flavors. This is big business, and I can' see the tobacco firms standing by where huge profits are to be made. It's just a matter of time.

    After reading RS's article, I am giving serious thought to buying some more shares of MO. Altria got into the E-cig business a few years ago through a subsidiary, Nu-Mark. I don't know how it's doing. They do have a website:

    I'm not all that interested in cigarettes and smoking again. I quit off and on in my younger years. Eventually, I quit for good back in 1981, and I've never gone back. My health is better for it. When I was in the US Army back in the early 60's, I was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone. We'd buy a carton of 10 for about $5 at the PX. When I see shoppers buying them at the local store, I'm shocked at their prices.

    One interesting tidbit. In our CZ Army unit, sometimes we would have K-Ration days. Sometimes we would be given Lucky Strikes in a can from WWII. I was used to smoking Lucky's with a red bulls-eye. In the can, they had a green bulls-eye. Nevertheless, they kept very well for the years spent in a can.
    May 28, 2015. 03:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Charter to merge with Time Warner Cable, buy Bright House [View news story]
    Charter is in our city advertising all the time. It's just one single number away from our number..the last number of the zip code.
    May 26, 2015. 10:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Charter to merge with Time Warner Cable, buy Bright House [View news story]
    Charter is operating near my zip code. I expect it will eventually get here. In many ways, I look forward to it, not because I like them. We have both ATT and Comcast in our area, both are ripoffs with poor customer service. One more of these behomoths won't make a big difference. I look forward to the day when the public gets totally fed up with these profiteers.

    Before too long, we're going to cut the cord and just keep Internet access. I, like, so many others, would like to have either better bundles or to have a more selective process on what we want to watch. The latter would be far better. I think our country is getting there, but it will take time. Comcast recently said they will hire 5500 more personnel for their customer service. For all the complaints against them and for so long, you would have thought they would have done this years ago. I'm not impressed.

    I like the prospect of Charter in our zip code so they can steal away from ATT and Comcast. Let them fight it out. No doubt, Charter will counter their offers and the others will do the same. Looking forward to the battle.
    May 26, 2015. 10:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Lessons Learned From The Grand Canyon [View article]
    Dave, Excellent article. It confirms what I learned quite a few years ago when I invested in a number of ETF's from an early leader in ETF investments. I believed in them. I was careful in choosing them (so I thought), but as time went by, only a few of them did well, but not well enough when compared to some of the stocks in them. Eventually, I sold out of them. I came out somewhat of a loser. Even to this day when I look at their current history. I'm glad I let them go. A few of them no longer exist.

    If you're an investor who doesn't have the time nor knowledge about stock market investments, ETF's could be very suitable investments. The same applies to mutual funds whether indexed or not. I was in high school when I made my very first investments in mutual funds. At that time, the Chicago newspapers had a very small single column of them in the financial sections. Some of the SA readers might recall the Keystone Funds (no longer alive), and ultimately, it merged with another fund family. What few dollars I had were lost. Nevertheless, I still believe in them. I own several Vanguards which have served me well over the years.

    When it comes to ETF's and mutual funds, one really needs to be quite selective. Dave brings up active vs. passive investing. There are important differences. In college, (more than a few years ago) in a statistics class, I set up a Monte Carlo MC) on mutual funds, no-load vs. load. I did a random selection of similar types over various time periods. Even before doing the MC, I was into investing in no-load funds. I did own some load funds at the time which I no longer own. My findings as I presented them: No-load vs. load were not very far apart in outcomes. I didn't figure the load or management fees into the MC. Some loads did better than no-load and vice versa. But as I had explained to my fellow students, my preference was in no-load funds. They needed to know that with load funds, you permit the managers to take their cut from your initial investment, either at the top or at the end. Not only this, you're more than likely to pay higher management fees which add up over a period of time. With many no-load funds, you're not giving away much of your investment when compared to load funds. Sure, there are management fees, but many are not exorbitant, e.g., Vanguard. Now, I'm not against load funds. They are quite suitable for many investors, especially, investors who prefer fund managers who've done well with strong histories, even with load fees. Unfortunately, far too many mutual funds don't do very well. One must be very discerning, even with no-loads.

    With respect to ETFs, what started out with a few of them has turned into tsunami of them. Billions of dollars flowing into them along with millions of investors. My enthusiasm for them dulled quite a few years ago. I wouldn't be averse to owning them again, but they are not my go-to investments. As a dividend investor, I've researched a number of dividend ETFs. I found that I'm doing quite well in individual stocks. A recent news article now indicates over 1500 listed ETFs. But as I've pointed out with mutual funds, there are quite a few ETFs that are really dogs and deadbeats. A major issue here is buyer beware.

    Before I leave planet earth, I may decide to own a few of these dividend ETFs strictly for the sake of my wife. She's not into investments, so I intend to make it easier for her. She's been an accountant her entire life and now retired. She's used to sitting behind a desk with two computer screens and working on spreadsheets and databases. She's no longer interested in looking at a vast array of numbers, only how much we're earning and how much we're spending.

    As SA is now covering mutual funds, I find it appropriate to bring up a recent article appearing in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, April 2015 issue. An appropriate article, "ETFs You Don't Need," pp. 38-40 is quite interesting, especially for readers who aren't totally familiar with ETFs. This article has yet to appear on Kiplinger's web site. The author explains in very simple but cogent terms the various differences among the classes of ETF funds such as, Leveraged, Inverse, Exchange-traded notes, Overseas sectors, and so forth. It's worth a read for many who aren't familiar with them. Your local public library should have archived copies of Kiplinger's.

    As for Dave's story about the Grand Canyon, we visited there back in 2007, and we were amazed at the immense size of it. There's a vast difference between pictures and actually seeing it in person. When I looked down into the canyon, I could imagine myself traversing the Colorado River like the Native American Indians had done for centuries. I would have enjoyed such a venture.

    Lately, I've been reading about a new and proposed $1 billion giant resort to be built very close to it. I would prefer it not happen. Much of what Teddy Roosevelt had done to prevent commercialization of our country's natural resources seems to be going down the tubes. The best I can do is to sign on-line petitions voting against such projects and calling our elected representatives to vote against them. I don't want all of our natural resources degraded. We've done enough destruction of our natural resources. We've already seen more than a few of our rivers and lakes polluted by industrial waste. Teddy was a prescient person who recognized the value of America's natural resources. He didn't want exploitation of so many important lands across the country. If one resort is built near there, then it doesn't take rocket science to make a prediction that others will want to do the same.
    May 24, 2015. 12:36 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • No 'High Wire Act' For Starwood Property Trust [View article]
    I totally agree with you and others who wish many of SA's contributors would define many of the acronyms as I've had the same difficulty in reading through the articles and having to visit investopedia for their definitions.

    Once the acronym is first introduced in the article, the definition should follow. No need for a repeat with the rest of the article. Brad's articles are easy follow, and I consider him one of the very best writers in SA. I wish more contributors would take his lead.

    Far too many writers will razzle-dazzle you with their undefined acronyms, and I feel that the authors are doing a disservice to the readers as well as to themselves because readers will tend to skip the articles altogether. I think it's a matter of courtesy for many of SA's readers, not all of us are investment experts in all subject areas.
    May 11, 2015. 11:27 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How The End Of GE Capital Also Kills The Core Conservative Talking Point About Dodd-Frank [View article]
    Bush might have asked "probing questions," but what matters most are the results He left the US economy in shambles and close to a full blown depression. What you call "mocking Bush's intelligence" is merely telling the truth about him. No one needs to exaggerate Bush's failures. They are all factual.
    Apr 14, 2015. 01:02 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How The End Of GE Capital Also Kills The Core Conservative Talking Point About Dodd-Frank [View article]
    rorty threw quite a bomb here, but he was spot on, and all for the good. I find it quite difficult to compartmentalize economics/finance and politics and separating them as if they didn't mesh or impinge each other. I'm also a GE stock owner, and I appreciated knowing what was going on behind the scenes at GE. Most of us read the accounts regarding the banks, but I was not fully aware of how much GE was involved. It seems as if the media gave them a pass. Most of the bad press went to the banks, to GM, When TARP began, the American taxpayers had to fess up and pay for GE's mishaps as well as the affected banks, including many foreign banks, from taking us all down which could have set off another great depression.

    I'm fairly certain that rorty probably knew that his article was going to set off a firestorm with more than a few people. Writing such an article, albeit one that is politically charged, is an exception rather than the rule at SA. But, I choose to favor it, not only because it's worthy of understanding my investment in GE, but it also reminds us that we're not investors working as a separate entity which has no connections to politics and our governments.

    GE's investment philosophy, no doubt, is guided by what our politicians and governments do. In fact, virtually every business firm, keeps an eye on political events, whether a particular party will favor the business community or Main St.. So far, as it seems to me, the corporatists have taken over. But, they should not feel that they can't be toppled. America is one of the most violent societies in the world, and it was borne out of a revolution.

    I was fortunate to have a fundamental history of the markets, and it's because of SA and other financial websites that provided me with much information and education from many exceptional persons with deep financial knowledge that kept me in the markets. But it also scared many investors and most Americans who felt confirmed that the markets were rigged against them. The markets lost many people who were turned off by Wall St.

    By selecting many worthy stock/mutual fund investments, I saw them all take the big hit during the Great Recession. My fortunes went downhill because Wall St. played a casino game with mortgage derivatives. Just imagine how many people got hurt, and if you were in retirement, you were doubly hurt. But, I sat on my investments and didn't sell any of them because I knew that things would only get better, in time. Also, I bought more stocks which I still own today.

    Personally, I pay attention to what our politicians and governments are doing in our behalf. Do I favor trickle-down, "laissez-faire," theories of economics or do I favor an economic system wherein our governments play a major social part? All of them are not infallible. All of them affect my investments.

    GE is truly a great industrial company. They are world-wide in scope, and they are closely tied to our defense industry. If our federal government is going to cut back or increase federal defense spending, then I really need to know this information. I need to know what our politicians favor regarding federal spending.

    As for Dodd-Frank, Wall St., the banks, GE, and the auto industry, all have themselves to blame for its passage. Main St. should never be used again to bail out these business entities for having failed on their own. Even D-F is no guarantee that we'll find ourselves in another pickle down the road. D-F has yet to be fully implemented, and while there be some flaws in it, I would rather have it then not.

    Whether I watch CNBC, Bloomberg, or FBN, all them feature politicians and government officials of every political persuasion for interviews. I pay attention to their business philosophies and ideologies just as much as I pay attention to all the guest interviewees whether they are CEO's, analysts, economists, Now, if I don't like what I'm hearing, it's so easy to turn the channels, or just tune them out altogether.

    I'm pleased that SA allowed rorty's piece to run. It's created quite a buzz, good and bad. It can be quite an emotional piece for some, but they can choose to ignore it if it hurts so badly.

    Apr 13, 2015. 05:09 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How The End Of GE Capital Also Kills The Core Conservative Talking Point About Dodd-Frank [View article]
    What a laugher! Bush didn't have a clue about economics. His presidency from the beginning was stagnant and floundering, economically. 911 came along and rather than to fight the people who committed it, he decided to find someone and a foreign country to blame. So, the easy thing to do was to create a war of choice against Iraq. That would get the economy rolling again. Bush's economy was a house of cards ready to crumble which came to screeching halt in 2007. And it went downhill very fast causing what is known as Bush II's, Great Recession. So, you're telling me that Bush II "understood complicated questions of economics without any need for dumbing it all down."

    Bush II cut taxes for the rich. At the same time he financed his war of choice by borrowing from China. Then he passed his Medicare Drug program without paying for it. All this while he was out there being quite vocal hyping citizens to buy homes. And no one was paying attention to the fraud that was going on in the mortgage markets. He had a lot of help from Greenspan who sat by doing nothing to try to stop the easy mortgages.

    All of the above, and I've yet to mention that Bush's business firm, Arbusto, went belly up. But, thanks to his daddy, he used family connections to eventually set himself up. He didn't do it by his own personal, bootstraps, or his financial smarts. TARP came about on his watch too, but that's another story too.

    Please, no more fairy tales about Bush II. But, I will agree with you. Clinton was short on economics and finance. He screwed up royally by signing the repeal of Glass-Steagall.
    Apr 13, 2015. 01:46 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Way To Follow Your Favorite Seeking Alpha Authors [View article]
    NC, I hear you! Here's something for SA to think about:

    If you would really like to subscribe to more than one premium contributor, then perhaps, you might get the powers that be to think about offering some discounts on multiple premium subscriptions? Now, this service will begin with twelve premium contributors, but I'm also believing this number will not remain static. Others may wish to join the premium club, and yes, I do think discounts will work if you're going for more than two or more than three, maybe even more. But let's not jump to any fast conclusions.

    First, I would like to see the original setup work, if its successful, then you can take a few steps at a time. Part of what I see here is that if there's an exclusive premium club, others may wish to join, and I would not like to lose others who would want to join, and if not given the chance, they may take their marbles and move elsewhere. I know there are quite a few more than twelve who are equally as good in many other areas of expertise. The object here is to retain top notch expertise, not lose them.

    Another area which has not been mentioned is if one or two of the twelve can attain a high level of success, and if one wishes to leave SA to setup his own private service, does that person take his subscribers with him? The devil is always in the details of such ventures.

    I don't know if any premium fees have been fixed in stone, and whether one can get a monthly rate, or a yearly rate. Here again, I can see a higher fee for a monthly rate and a lower fee for a yearly rate. Also, how about a teaser rate?

    Now, I've only touched upon a few items to consider, and perhaps one of the editors might wish to address these matters?
    Apr 2, 2015. 10:19 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Way To Follow Your Favorite Seeking Alpha Authors [View article]
    Scoots, I've had similar thoughts as you've expressed. This is why I've recommended publishing track records for premium contributors. Surely, after one has made cogent arguments for recommending an investment, I want to be able to see, in time, that it was a worthy investment. I don't expect for anyone to be perfect, but I do expect to see considerable improvement on my investments.

    I learned early on in my life that free advice often comes with a price attached to it. So, with all the free advice here at SA, I have to do quite a bit of sifting. I've made some good trades as well as some bad ones based on a number of articles. Of course, I can only blame myself for the decisions that I've made. However, once I've been bitten, I know that the free advice I followed was the price I paid for it. So far, I've done much better overall than the few choices I've made that didn't pan out. I believe that quite a bit of the advice I got for free here at SA made me a much wiser investor. Therefore, I know, first hand, the value of SA for me.

    In addition to my suggestions on categories of advice besides those mentioned by Eli, I would find it much easier to access the premium providers based on particular investments that interest me. So, if they could have a section where they are categorized with their names and their specialization(s), I can pinpoint what I'm seeking instead of having to read through quite a few pages before I find an author that I want. I'm sure this can be accomplished, and it could also be done for all the free articles.

    I thought about the nagging sensation that you have about this entire issue. I had it too, and I'm sure others have it besides us. But I think that offering something of value for free has limitations. In the past, I've paid for investment adviser subscriptions. Several have served me well, and a few others I would not re-subscribe. Virtually, every week, I get something in the mail for investment subscriptions, and most of them I pay no attention because they have so much hype to them.

    At SA, I get to be my own hyper. If I like what I read, then I'll go for it. Most of the time, if I've found a particular investment, I'll have done a fair amount of research before I've made a buy or sell decision. And, I commend the many comments to articles that are made by SA followers. They give me a lot of food for thought. I'm here almost every day, and should the premium contributors prove to be successful, then, I may take the leap of faith.

    Free has a cost. So, if SA is getting a cut of the pie, then I only think it's fair. I want it to grow as a marketplace for the small investors as well as for the big ones.
    Apr 2, 2015. 04:10 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A New Way To Follow Your Favorite Seeking Alpha Authors [View article]
    No question that SA is my GOTO place for investment advice. It's my favorite amongst a few others. Here are several things I would like to see besides a paid premium service:

    1. A track record for premium services. If you're paying, then you should know if your subscription investment is paying off for you. Now, no one is going to have a perfect record, but if this is expressed in percentage terms, then one can make a better decision on a subscription service based on a premium provider's advice.

    2. A breakdown of category advice. If a premium provider leans toward technical analysis or fundamentals. In my case, I'm more interested in dividends as I'm retired and this area is more important to me. Most of what I like to read falls into the fundamentals. Categories can be further broken down into areas such as preferred stocks, bonds, options, and now, mutual funds. There are other categories others may wish to see, such as specialization in, foreign stocks, energy investments, REIT'S, ETF's, commodities, to name a few. Some advisers offer a variety of advice falling into many categories, not just a few.

    I'm not saying that I don't read about technical advice, it's just that some are extremely technical, and my time is limited in being able to follow but a few of them. Ultimately, I will read several paragraphs, and then, I will read the conclusions towards the end where the author will make some estimates or recommendations. Statistical analysis can get very deep, and not everyone has a handle on totally understanding the technical details.

    The above are just a few thoughts that SA may wish to consider. After I discovered SA, I found it easy to recommend this website to my friends and acquaintances, especially because it's an educational adventure to learn about investments. Far too many people don't understand the stock markets. They find it confusing. So, the marketplace for potential retail investors is quite huge. SA is in competition with other investment advisers, so it must find growth, and for authors who are offering premium services, they will always need new clients.
    Apr 2, 2015. 01:37 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • My 2013 IRA Additions: Amazon, Tesla, LinkedIn, InterActive And Lorillard [View article]
    Personally, I would not have selected Amazon or Tesla. These don't pay dividends, and their stock prices are too high and volatile. This does not mean I don't like them, but I like more bang for my buck. As a retiree, I select mostly dividend paying stocks, generally stocks priced up to $100. You have several stocks paying dividends which is all for the good. You may wish to rethink to focus on dividend paying stocks. It's okay to speculate as long as you have some idea of what to expect.

    When I select stocks, I look at their fundamentals and what the future holds for them, and how long they've been established companies. Because my time horizon is much different than yours, I have to think 20 to 40 years from now. I don't think I'll reach 100. However, I do think my spouse will be around as she's much younger. She'll inherit both my Roth and Traditional IRA's. Because I now have to withdraw RMD's from my traditional IRA, long ago, I made sure that I would accumulate enough cash to take the withdrawals without having to sell stocks for cash. So far, I've earned a healthy surplus of dividends and sufficient cash to take the RMD. If I had started out at your age, I would even be in much better shape. It's amazing how dividends pile up and it's a great idea to do dividend reinvestments.

    Seekingalpha is my preferred website for stocks and bonds. When I meet with young people, I tell them about how much you can learn from some of the very best investors in the business. It's a good idea to be in the market and not out of it. I don't earn much interest on bank accounts. And, yes, I do make some bonehead market moves, but overall, I'm doing well. Even the pros are not perfect. Failure is the tuition you pay for success.
    Apr 11, 2014. 11:33 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Seadrill's CEO Discusses Q4 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript [View article]
    It's torture to understand what is being said. It would have been better off not to have posted this diatribe I own SDRL, and I really wanted to understand more of what they intend to do in the future. If anyone paid for a translation, they got screwed.
    Feb 25, 2014. 05:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment