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Buy: Hold: Sell: Jump


I'm sitting here at my computer desk with a cup of coffee at my elbow. The coffee rest in a mug, the mug garnished with the words Buy, Hold, Sell, Jump, vertically along its sides. Emblazoned across the top of the cup are the words, Wall Street, which encircles the upper portions of the mug. The handle of the mug is quite ornate, rounded at the bottom, with a cradle in the handle's top. In the cradle is a die, with a small metal pin through the die, which enables my thumb too spin the die. Instead of numbers, as in a pair of dice, the die's choices are Yes, No, and ? And, lo and behold, an article is born.

When do you buy, sell, hold or jump? (A better question still, what do you buy, when do you sell, how long should you hold, and why would you jump?)

This article will tackle the word Jump (to find the answer to those other questions, they've been answered in some of my other articles). Would Jump mean off a building? Or Jump to another stock market security? The word Jump reminded me of one of my other articles where I stated 'just because thousands of people on wall street make their living doing 'technical analysis' doesn't mean you have to jump off a building, too'.

Just today, reported by CNBC, a hedge fund has gone bankrupt. Seems the manager of the fund has skipped the country, along with all of the money. It's been reported tens of millions of investor's dollars are gone (as well as the manager).

The Wall Street Journal just had a report stating that retirement plans are facing a new threat: Theft.

Excerpts from the Wall Street Journal (March 2, 2005): New York

Retirement Plans are facing a growing threat: Theft

"Susana Longo, the compliance officer at Applied Financial Group, an investment-advisory firm in Atlanta, was indicted in January on federal charges of stealing $5.4 million in retirement savings from 220 workers at a car dealer, two medical practices and an audio-visual specialist. She acknowledged spending the money on two beach houses, a diamond ring, a 1,600-bottle wine collection and a Porsche 911, according to a lawsuit filed by the advisory firm." (The article also stated this went on for four years.)

The article also goes on to state there are important lessons to be learned through this Atlanta case and they were stated in these excerpts from the same article in the Wall Street Journal:

* Roll your money into an individual retirement account when you retire (my comments on this later). Eight retirees who left their assets in one of the four affected plans were receiving monthly checks from their accounts until the plan was frozen last spring amid the investigation, said William Whitmire, the company's director and the Plan's trustee. "Some of them are really desperate, but there's nothing that can be done until the insurers come to agreement,' he said.

* Make sure you are getting all your statements, and force yourself to reconcile them. The amount deducted from your paycheck should match the amount deposited into your 401(k) account.

* The trustees of the four Atlanta-area plans were supposed to get regular statements from both the retirement-plan administrator and the custodian of the plans' assets. The trustees of the two hardest-hit plans didn't get their custodial statements regularly, because they were sent to other addresses. When trustees did get custodial statements, they didn't review them.

*Don't assume that you will receive a heads-up from your employer or plan custodian. As the alleged fraud in Atlanta began to unravel, federal agents showed up at Whitmore's office with a stack of about 75 forged checks made out to people 'he never heard of," he said. He claims that the plan's custodian didn't call to make sure the checks were authentic.

As I was reading this article I couldn't help thinking about the old adage 'No one cares as much about your money as you do.'

And here's the crux of this whole article:

You do not have to wait until you retire before moving monies from your 401(k) Plan into an individual IRA. There was and is a law which was passed in 2002 which allows you to transfer any after-taxed dollars and company-matched dollars out of your 401(k) plan into an IRA (with no fees or penalties, and no matter what your age). I have been doing this while still employed with my company. I have built my own mutual fund, using monies that have been transferred from my 401(k) into an individual IRA.

If you get nothing else out of this article, let it be that you will contact the firm your 401(k) monies are with, and find out your available options.

To read the Preface from the book 'The Stockopoly Plan- Investing for Retirement' visit: http://www.thestockopolyplan.com

Charles M. O'Melia is an individual investor with almost 40 years of experience and passion for the stock market. The author of the book 'The Stockopoly Plan'; published by American-Book Publishing. The book can be purchased at http://www.pdbookstore.com/comfiles/pages/CharlesMOMelia.shtml


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