How to Make a Solid Investment and Avoid a Crumby Deal

You can learn some important lessons in college, although sometimes they come from unexpected places. Many college students are required to take a basic economics course. A friend – whose major was not economics – recently told me that one of the most important things he learned in college came from his macroeconomics introductory course. They were discussing supply and demand and the stock market. His professor had his students hunt down several “investment letters.” He then asked his students a very simple question: If the people who write these...

‘HGTV Effect’ Propels Borrowing for Renovations and Flips

Unless you’ve been living under a rock – and can’t get cable TV under your rock – you’ve had to have witnessed the incredible boom in home renovation and house flipping shows on networks such as HGTV. With titles like “Flip This House,” “Flip That House,” “The Property Ladder” and more on TV just about 24/7 the renovation craze seems to stretch from sea to shining sea. And it turns out that renovating homes isn’t just a US preoccupation. I just read an article about renovating and flipping in Canada and...

Why Lending and Investing Fundamentals are Critical

Bad things happen when you drift away from the sound principles of lending and investing and we’ve seen a lot of that with the slow-motion fallout over the various banking and mortgage scandals that set our economy back in 2007. Just this July, Citigroup and the Security Exchange Commission were in appeals court dealing with a 2011 ruling that fined Citigroup $265 million for its actions during the mortgage meltdown. The fine stems from the fact that Citigroup was found to have made a lot of bad loans, realized they were bad, bundled them into...

George Washington’s Credit Rating

I was thumbing through a book about George Washington the other day—stay with me here—and learned a couple of things I never before knew. • No one ever said Washington “chopped down” a cherry tree. However, someone did say he damaged the bark of a cherry tree…and there’s a good chance that incident really happened. • In Washington’s day, very little money exchanged hands. Most transactions were conducted with 20 percent cash and the rest on credit. Interestingly enough, these two points were included in the same chapter of the...