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  • Is It Time to Hide Your Money in a Mattress?

    April 17, 2014

    “I don’t know what to do. I know I should do something. Every time I think about it, it scares the hell out of me! Maybe I should just hide everything in a mattress.” So said my good friend Rob after inviting Jo and me to dinner for the third time in two weeks. Rob is a sharp guy—he’s done well for himself and his family. He also recently settled the last details… read article

  • Financial Freedom Starts Here

    April 10, 2014

    Saving money is difficult, particularly for low-wage earners raising young families. Truth be told, even though I already had a solid career as a twenty-something father of three sometime in the last millennium, it still required enormous discipline to sock away money. And I hadn’t forgotten those years when I scribbled my satirical letter about myRA—a letter that sparked quite a lot of feedback (which I love) from our readers. Judged… read article

  • Finding Junk Bonds That Don’t Stink

    April 3, 2014

    Riddle me this: Why would anyone ever buy junk bonds or a junk bond fund? It’s Andrey Dashkov here, your chief analyst making another guest appearance in this week’s missive. Now, before I share the answer, note that credit ratings from agencies like Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch do not reveal the whole picture about risk. Bond ratings only deal with one risk: default. These ratings should help investors discern investment-grade… read article

  • Kitchen-Table Economics

    March 27, 2014

    What is it about retirement that causes confident, successful businessmen and -women to lose that edge when they invest their own life savings? Many otherwise dynamic people become virtually impotent in the face of retirement investing. I have many friends who were very effective in business—folks who made sound decisions affecting how millions upon millions of dollars were spent. They would gather the facts, make a plan, and make the right call with confidence.… read article

  • Not All Debt Is Created Equal

    March 20, 2014

    Optimal diversification: We all want it. Diversification is, after all, the holy grail of portfolio management. Our senior research analyst Andrey Dashkov has said that many times before, and he echoes that refrain in this week’s editorial guest spot below. A brief note before I hand over the reins to Andrey. The last time the market tanked, many of my friends suffered huge losses. They all thought their portfolios were well diversified. Many… read article

  • Escape the Toy Trap

    March 13, 2014

    The toy trap: we all have friends who’ve fallen in. I received a wave of emails after publishing Debt: The Last Social Taboo?, all sharing similar sad stories. Author Dave Ramsey summed up the problem best: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” Malcolm Forbes, lover of all-things extravagant, likely originated the phrase “He who dies with the most toys wins.”… read article

  • Learn to Trust Your Own Financial Judgment

    March 6, 2014

    Keep this goal in mind as you read on: solid income and growth with minimal risk and no catastrophic losses. Just tuck it in the back of your mind. Now, subscriber Brian A. wrote sharing a common concern: "I subscribe to your newsletter for the purpose of diversifying my portfolio as well as taking more responsibility for my investment future. … I look at the soaring S&P and Dow and wonder… read article

  • Thin Your Waist to Fatten Your Wallet

    February 27, 2014

    My doctor told me to lose weight. … I lost 10 lb. … I gained 10 lb. I’ve said those words to my editor Ann all too often over the last two years. Last month when I proudly announced that I’d bought new shoes to replace my old Nike Airs and had lost a bit of weight since my annual checkup, she said that was good news, but that I was fighting the wrong… read article

  • The Three Stooges Debunk myRA

    February 20, 2014

    A little skit ran through my head the other day… The house lights dimmed and the bright American flag glistened in the background. The crowd hushed as a tall man in a strange costume strode confidently onto the stage.  Curly turned to Larry and Moe and exclaimed, "Oh my, that's our favorite—Uncle Sam, our boyhood hero." Moe put his finger to his lips as if to say "Shhh!" Uncle Sam rapped… read article

  • Why Unemployment Rates Matter to Your Retirement

    February 13, 2014

    My biological clock is ticking—as is yours and everyone else's. With each passing day, you are either moving closer to or further past the day you quit working full time. Baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day and will continue to do so for the next 17 years. Whether you count yourself among that group or not, understanding where economic data—such as unemployment rates and inflation—come from will make you… read article

  • And the Band Plays On

    February 6, 2014

    Quantitative Easing (QE) is no longer a surprise, but the fact that it's continued for so long is. Like many of our readers, I believe the government cannot continue to pay its bills by having the Federal Reserve buy debt with newly created money forever. This has gone on much longer than I'd have ever dreamed possible. Unemployment numbers dropped in December and the Federal Reserve tapered their money creation from $85 billion… read article

  • Bernanke’s Legacy

    January 30, 2014

    "Mr. Bernanke, on the way out, don't let the door hit ya, where the good Lord split ya!" That's what I've imagined my former coworker Charley—a brilliant Alabamian who was proud to be called a redneck—might have said as the former Fed chairman stepped down. In case you missed it, here's Bernanke's highlight reel: The Federal Reserve jumped in and bailed out "too big to fail" banks that made bad business… read article

  • Debt: The Last Social Taboo?

    January 23, 2014

    Social taboos have dropped left and right since I was a young man raising a family, but one is unlikely to disappear any time soon: holding too much personal debt. But debt need not be a personal tragedy nor a badge of shame. For some, it is simply a practical problem with practical solutions. For others, however, it isn't even the real problem. In the last year I've watched two friends handle debt… read article

  • 65 Is Not a Magic Number

    January 16, 2014

    Is retirement really all it's cracked up to be? The answer depends on where you find yourself financially, emotionally, and health-wise come age 65 or so. When we're young, we trade time for money and hope to stash away enough of it to later reverse the process and trade money for time. Ideally, we'd each have a few decades of independence before the grim reaper—or assisted living facility—comes knocking. The statistics published… read article

  • Master Limited Partnerships Generate Safe Income for Seniors and Savers

    January 9, 2014

    It's time to answer the "who, what, when, where, and why" of investing in master limited partnerships (MLPs)… Andrey Dashkov, our senior research analyst, is the rare person who, when you asked for a hammer comes back with a hammer, nails, staples, and glue. In short, he often comes up with better solutions to tricky problems than I ever thought possible. Since Andrey and I are on a nonstop mission to unearth… read article

  • Defend Your Life

    January 2, 2014

    It's all too easy to get lost in the misinformation and politicking surrounding Obamacare. Dr. Vliet, an independent physician and the past director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (whom I had the good fortune to meet when she spoke at the last Casey Summit) graciously agreed to sit down and clear the fog shrouding the new healthcare law for us. A warm thank you to Dr. Vliet for carving out time… read article

  • Ten Pillars of Financial Independence

    December 26, 2013

    Young folks can usually digest a difficult message more easily when it comes from someone who is not: (a) their parent; (b) their teacher; nor (c) anyone else whose lectures they are sick of hearing. At the close of 2012, I shared a few of Miller's truths in Straight Talk for the Un(der)employed Youth. The number of readers who passed it along to family or friends (for whom I fall in none… read article

  • Five Moves to Make Before 2014

    December 19, 2013

    While it's tempting to slip into an eggnog stupor from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day, there are five items we should all check off our to-do lists before the ball drops on 2014. Review your loss carryforward numbers. If you have any capital loss carryforward from previous years, now is a good time to take some profits. You can take your gains and offset them against your carryforward, plus $3,000. Who knows… read article

  • How to Profit During High Inflation

    December 12, 2013

    Anyone with a technical degree will admit that college programmed them to consider "sell" a dirty word—to think salespeople use trickery to lure consumers into buying things they don't need. It makes no difference whether it's an investment product or a Pet Rock; anyone involved with selling or its evil twin marketing is guilty until proven innocent. I spent the majority of my first career in sales and marketing, where I focused on… read article

  • Turn off the Tube, Tune out the Media, and Drop out of December Madness

    December 5, 2013

    Overconsumption of mass media during the month of December can cause emotional whiplash. Navigating images of smiling shoppers and candy-cane merriment while reading about a derailed train in the Bronx or Syrian refugees has left me pining for the days of yore—when Christmas was still vaguely related to a guy who wore sandals and annoyed his local government, and the only bad news you heard about was the drought or oxcart accident in your… read article

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About the Author

Over the course of his career, Dennis Miller has consulted with many Fortune 500 companies, training hundreds of executives to effectively communicate the value of their company's products to their customers. Among his many multi-national clients are: GE, Mobil, Shell, Schlumberger, HP, IBM, Corning Glass, Eastman Kodak, AC Nielsen, and Johns-Manville.

An active international lecturer for 40 years, Dennis wrote several books on sales and sales management. He was a contributor to... read more

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