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The Money Compass: Where Your Money Went and How to Get It Back

Book Description

Between the ongoing recession, the collapse of the housing market, and the crumbling of the middle class, many Americans are left wondering what happened to the American Dream. They're also wondering what happened to their money. For millions of people, just making ends meet is challenging enough. So when it comes to saving and investing, it seems like the deck is stacked against you.

The bad news is that you're right. If the economy were a card game, the dealer would hold all the aces. But the good news is that you don't have to play by the house rules. Renowned for his unvarnished insight on finance and investing, money manager Mark Grimaldi has a reputation for telling it like it is. He doesn't sugarcoat the negative and he doesn't have time for the financial industry hype that leads to bad investing decisions. Here's the truth: the economy is in bad shape, but that doesn't mean you can't save responsibly, invest profitably, and retire comfortably.

In The Money Compass, Grimaldi teams up with accounting professor G. Stevenson Smith to offer a wealth of smart investing advice for today's investor. This plain-English guide to good investing presents practical strategies and actionable advice for safely navigating today's financial markets. It shows you how to manage credit and debt responsibly, how to use the tax code to your advantage, which kinds of trendy investing advice you should ignore, and where to put your money for solid returns.

In addition, the authors explore the hard macroeconomic realities that explain how we got here and where we're going next. They look at the primary causes and consequences of the recession, the housing crash, the slow collapse of government programs, long-term unemployment, and how it all impacts you and your money. Plus, Grimaldi and Stevenson forecast the next big economic shock and show you how to profit from it.

The economic game is rigged to keep you poor and keep Wall Street rich. So it's time to write your own rules. Whether you're white collar, blue collar, or somewhere in between, The Money Compass gives you the commonsense guidance you need to chart a course to a comfortable financial future—even in the roughest economic waters.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Contents
  3. Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Preface
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Chapter 1: Introduction
    1. The Fourth Branch: K Street Government
    2. More Income Tax and More Debt, Too
    3. Monetization of the Debt: Say What?
    4. The Last Biggie: Repeal of Glass-Steagall and Gamblers Gone Wild
    5. Summary
    6. References
  9. Chapter 2: Greenspan and the Growing Bubble
    1. Simple Plans Often Become Complicated
    2. Moving On . . .
    3. The 36-Day Election
    4. My Takeaway Is More than Fries
    5. Summary
    6. Reference
    7. Notes
  10. Chapter 3: Drop the “U” Out of “Housing” and You Get What America Got
    1. 2000 to 2006: The Perfect Storm
    2. Oops, Almost Made It
    3. 2007: All Fall Down
    4. 2008: The Year of Reckoning
    5. The Fat Lady Sings: “It’s Not Over”
    6. 2009 to 2012: The Road to Recovery?
    7. Looking Ahead
    8. 50-Year Mortgages
    9. What to Do Next? Let’s Buy a House
    10. Summary
    11. Reference
    12. Notes
  11. Chapter 4: Credit Cards
    1. The New Law
    2. Let’s Skip a Payment
    3. The Contract
    4. How Is That Interest Rate Figured?
    5. The Credit Card Tax
    6. Tipping a Hat to Debit Cards
    7. Getting Back
    8. Summary
    9. Notes
  12. Chapter 5: Who Are Target-Date Retirement Funds Targeting?
    1. A Ticking Time Bomb
    2. The Dawdling SEC
    3. What Can You Do?
  13. Chapter 6: Four-Oh-One-Kay Tales
    1. The Truth about Your 401(hey)!
    2. Meet Mr. Uninformed and Mrs. Navigator
    3. Mr. Uninformed and Mrs. Navigator, 10 Years Later
    4. A Little More Sizzle
    5. One Exception
    6. Four Reasons to Invest in After-Tax Accounts
    7. Summary
  14. Chapter 7: Exchange-Traded Funds
    1. Is Mr. Bogle “Indexing” the Problem?
    2. What Is an Index Fund?
    3. Why Invest in an Index Fund?
    4. Giving Up Downside Protection
    5. Giving Up the Ability to Lock In Profits
    6. Why Not Buy and Hold?
    7. So What’s Wrong with ETFs?
    8. How Much Should You Pay for an ETF Trade?
    9. The Benefits of Professionally Managed ETFs
    10. Ranking ETFs the Grimaldi Way
    11. Summary
    12. Note
  15. Chapter 8: Who Took My Money Now?
    1. The Feds and State Government
    2. The Vendors
    3. School Administrators, Relatives, and Cronies
    4. The Boosters
    5. Teachers, Sex, Unions, Drugs, and More Fraud
    6. Parents
    7. Students
    8. So What Are You and Yours Losing?
    9. Are There Choices?
    10. Summary
    11. Notes
  16. Chapter 9: Staying Poor in America
    1. Rich or Poor?
    2. What Else? Business Models Have Changed Our Way of Earning a Living
    3. Other Factors Making Americans Poor
    4. Spend It if You Got It or Pretend to Be Rich Until You Are Poor
    5. Governmental Solutions
    6. Private Solutions
    7. Summary
    8. Notes
  17. Chapter 10: The Federal Debt Bomb
    1. Government Choices and Me
    2. What Am I Going to Lose in These Policy Choices?
    3. So How Do I Keep from Losing My Shirt—or at Least Survive an Inflationary Environment?
    4. Summary
    5. Notes
  18. Chapter 11: Navigating the 2014 Recession
    1. Beginnings
    2. Behind the Accolades—Accurate Forecasting
    3. The 2014 Recession
    4. Recession Rules to Live By
    5. Navigate Carefully
  19. Appendix: The Grimaldi Forecasts
    1. January 2008 Navigator Newsletters
    2. February 2008 Navigator Newsletters
    3. March 2008 Navigator Newsletters
    4. June 2008 Navigator Newsletters
    5. November 2008 Navigator Newsletters
    6. May 2009 Navigator Newsletters
  20. Chapter 12: Changing Job Patterns and You
    1. How Could This Happen?
    2. Did You Leave the Middle Class on Purpose?
    3. The Job Recovery from the Great Recession
    4. Societal and Economic Effects
    5. A Possible Solution?
    6. Summary
    7. Notes
  21. Chapter 13: Gratuity Government
    1. Taker Trends: Get Wise and Do Less for Yourself
    2. Entrance to the Land of the Takers
    3. Transfer Payments and a Hypothetical Monthly Budget
    4. Summary
    5. Notes
  22. About the Authors
  23. Index