Jeff Gundlach: Cover Your Ears, People Are Screaming

When Jeffrey Gundlach hosts a Web presentation, people listen — at least to make sure the bond trader doesn’t call them out for contributing to the current economic malaise. Gundlach, a high-profile, fixed-income expert (and a former Morningstar Fund Manager of the Year), has a habit for speaking his mind.

This week, the CEO and chief investment officer of DoubleLine Capital, gave a presentation titled Deficits Don’t Matter — in which he argued that deficits really do matter. He refuted Dick Cheney’s 2002 assertion that “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter,” noting, “Obviously deficits do matter, and today they seem to matter at an accelerated rate.” And then, in a masterfully nonpartisan rant, he went on to criticize both Mitt Romney, for his support for low taxes, and Barack Obama, for overlooking the fact that low participation is compressing the unemployment rate. Read more…

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Weighing the Price of Social Responsibility

What’s the relationship between stock performance and corporate ethics? Based on an analysis of the public companies that made it onto this year’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, there’s very little.

One-year stock returns among the companies that made the 2012 list ranged from more than 47% to a loss of nearly 72%.

While many investors like the idea of socially responsible investing, the results show that ethics alone are no guarantee of strong financial performance. And they make suggestions that “doing the right thing is actually good for business” — as says the head of the New York City think tank that has been compiling the annual list for the past six years — somewhat harder to believe. Read more…

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How Co-Signers Can Get Out From Student Loans

Most private student loans require the borrower to have a co-signer — some credit-worthy adult willing to put his name and money on the line for someone with no income of his own and no repayment history. It’s always risky to be a co-signer. And now the risk is even greater, and not just from the borrower’s potential default.

Why? Because the extra debt from those college loans, especially if you have multiple children, distorts your debt-to-income ratios, and a high debt-to-income ratio can mean the difference between a rejection and an approval on something like a new or refinanced mortgage application. Read more…

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College Loan Debt… Even After Death

It took six years and nearly 80,000 signatures on an online petition to persuade KeyBank (NYSE: KEY) to forgive the student loan debt of a deceased student.

Christopher Bryski was injured in a recreational accident in 2004 when he was a junior at Rutgers University. After two years in a comatose state, Bryski died with about $50,000 in student loan debt. His father had co-signed for those loans.

After years of unsucessful negotiations over the debt, the brother of the victim launched an online petition drive to protest KeyBank’s policies. Within days, the family had collected thousands of signatures, and KeyBank officials agreed to discharge the balance of the Bryski family’s loans. The bank will also review its policy as it relates to families in similar situations. Read more…

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Making Do With Less

Four years ago I fell into the abyss that would come to be known as the Great Recession. In a matter of weeks, jobs were lost, paychecks vanished, and my lifestyle changed. Read more…

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Facing Reality

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I created a Facebook page because I realized it was the most annoying thing I could do to my kids. Kids don’t want their parents on a social network they consider their own, and grow especially uncomfortable when their classmates send friend requests to their parents.

Since I’m too old for spring break and too tired to attend many all-night parties, I wasn’t worried about any embarrassing photos showing up on the site. So I was somewhat surprised to realize, with or without business questionable images, that Facebook could create potentially sticky issues. Continue reading

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Fear of Falling and Being Followed

Fear of Falling--Icarus

Fear of Falling--Icarus

If I could have the superpower of my choice, I’d take the ability to fly. But based on my impulsivity, I’d probably fly too close to the sun, like the Greek god Icarus. So I’d be better off with my second choice…invisibility.

There’s something intriguing about wandering anonymously through the day, going wherever you want, doing whatever you want-no questions asked, no calls from the office.

 And this brings me to Twitter, the impossibly popular micro-blogging service that lets users stay connected through the exchange of short status messages. It’s designed to let you answer the question “What are you doing?” -and share those updates with colleagues, family and friends. Continue reading

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