Be Skeptical of Your Broker

Posted by on Nov 24, 2018 in Finance, Investing, Investment | 0 comments

You don’t understand the market. I get that. You don’t have to. It isn’t your job. That’s why you have a broker. But here’s the thing: are you sure your broker is treating you fairly?

You might immediately and unequivocally answer “yes,” but I’d caution you to take a moment and think about that answer. How do you know? Because, so far, you’ve been making decent money on your investments?

There are an unfortunately large number of examples I could draw from to show that your broker may not be acting as responsibly with your money as you expect them to be and as they claim to be. For the purposes of this article, though, I’ll just choose one: LJM Capital Preservation and Growth Fund. This situation all came to pass earlier this year, so it’s recent, and it’s had very real costs for a lot of investors.

What happened was LJM was not investing, as it claimed, primarily in capital preservation. Instead, they were taking huge risks in the market and not preserving enough capital in the event of a down market. When things went wrong, they really went wrong, costing 80% of the company’s stock and as much as $600 million of their investors’ money.

Some businesses make poor investment choices and lose money, that isn’t news. What is news is that many brokers sold LJM Funds without disclosing the risks to their clients. In other words, investors expected their brokers to put their money in relatively safe, modest growth stock and ended up extremely exposed and losing a great deal of money.

This all happened because too many people trusted their brokers to always be making good decisions with their money. They expected their brokers to always notify them before making a risky investment. They expected to be kept in the loop and to otherwise know their broker was shifting money safely between stable, conservative investments.

They all expected those things, and they were all wrong. Thankfully, lawsuits against these brokers and their brokerage firms may recover these losses for those who were innocent investors unaware of the risk, but that doesn’t diminish the lesson here.

Your broker may be completely upstanding. They may fulfill their mission to provide you safe, reasonable investments that keep your portfolio diverse and your earnings growing. You should have trust in your broker if they’ve proven they are reliable and open with you in the past. However, it doesn’t hurt to have a little more skepticism in relation to your broker, even if you’ve been with them for years.

Try to be a little more skeptical and verify with your broker instead of just trusting them. Do a little research about your portfolio. It might be an evening you waste just finding out your broker was as good as you thought. Or, you may discover you are at a far greater risk than you imagined, just like those unwitting LJM investors.

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Birthday Gift Reviews

Posted by on Oct 15, 2017 in Craft Beer | 0 comments

I’m not big on advertising products online. I don’t like to use this space for reviews, in fact, I don’t like to do reviews at all. I don’t write anything on Yelp or on travel review sites. I don’t write up reviews for hotels or Uber drivers. It’s just not my thing. I like to keep my online profile strictly about my general thoughts about the word.

But I think I may change my policy on that, at least for a little while, because I got some amazing gifts for my birthday, and I want to spend a little time raving about each one of them. So, for the next few posts, I’m going to detail each gift, one at a time, and give some free press to these companies that did such awesome jobs crafting new devices.

But first, a raving review to my friends, who knew me (and the gadget world) well enough to get me really awesome gifts that I’ll be using for years. You’re all great, you know who you are.

Okay, so first up are the growler chillers from Growler Chill (I know, the device matches the company, convenient).

These things are, in a word, awesome. Just awesome. What they do is they allow you to keep your growlers fresh and cold and to pour each glass out fresh from the tap. Everyone who reads this knows I like a good beer at the end of the day. My job is tough, and then I come home and blog, which takes more time than most people realize. What I need is a glass of my favorite beer right there waiting for me for when I’ve finished all my work.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had to settle for a stale or flat beer or even, heaven help me, warm, stale, flat beer. I’ll drink it, but that’s an evening ruiner if ever there was one.

I could, of course, buy cans of the everyday schlock most of this country drinks, but I’d rather drink water than that stuff. In my opinion, it’s just a waste of money. I could, and do, buy small bottles of the microbrews I prefer, but that gets pricey, and by the end of the month, I can’t always afford to buy another six pack to get through that tough week before payday.

So, for years now, I’ve been in a bit of a conundrum, and I didn’t have a real solution for that conundrum until the Growler Chill growler chiller. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration that it’s saved my freaking life. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one. I’ve been using it for the last week and it really has improved my quality of life markedly.

Basically, I’m saying: go get one.

Okay, that’s enough about this gift. Check back in tomorrow, and I’ll have more to say about the others! As always, thanks for reading!

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Theft And Robbery

Posted by on Mar 22, 2014 in Criminal Law, Interest | 0 comments

Criminal charges of theft and robbery come with significant penalties that can have an adverse and lasting effect on someone’s life. In the wake of an arrest, it can be very difficult to determine what you are even being charged with, what the potential consequences of a conviction might be, and what your best course of action is. Individuals who are facing theft and robbery charges could, if convicted, be sentenced to lengthy jail time and expensive fines. However, accusations of a crime do not guarantee a conviction, as every person in the United States has the right to a fair trial and representation.

One of the ways to ensure that your rights are protected during a trial is to enlist the services of a defense lawyer, who can represent your interests and advise you on the complex legal procedures at play here. Using his or her extensive knowledge of the law, an attorney will be able to help you gather evidence that helps show to the court that you are innocent or creates doubt about the evidence against you. He or she will also be aware of ways to use witness testimony to your advantage as well as refute claims against your character. All of this will be done in a way that will please the court and is within the normal bounds of the law.

Types of Theft and Robbery

Theft and robbery charges do not just apply to one type of criminal actions, and may actually constitute several types of behavior. If you are being charged with committing such a crime, is often helpful not only understand the potential penalties but also the exact nature of your alleged criminal actions. Following are several types of theft and robbery crimes that someone may be charged with:

  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Identity theft
  • Grand theft automobile
  • Robbery
  • Armed robbery
  • Bank robbery

Time is of the essence during criminal cases. Taking the time before the trial starts to contact an experienced lawyer will significantly increase the chances of a successful defense.

Legal Options

If you are facing criminal charges for theft and robbery, you should consider taking legal action in order to protect your rights. It may be in your best interest to contact a Dallas criminal lawyer to ensure that your interests are well represented and to increase the effectiveness of your defense.

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Murder Charges

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Criminal Law, Society | 0 comments

A homicide charge is perhaps the most serious charge in criminal law. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction of homicide can lead all the way to the death penalty or life in prison. When someone is charged with homicide, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. Because the allegations carry such serious implications, judges and juries must be presented with strong and believable evidence from the prosecutors that the defendant is guilty of the crime. For the defendant, it is up to them and their attorneys to maintain a reasonable doubt that they are guilty of murder. That is why it is so important for someone who is being charged to have an attorney who is focused on the case and willing to use their legal skills, resources, and knowledge to their best ability to defend their client. Defendants who are unable to maintain a skilled attorney are often a poor match for a well prepared and determined state prosecutor.

Types of Murder Charges

In general terms, the definition of homicide is the unlawful taking of another person’s life. There are, however, several different types of homicide charges. These charges depend on the circumstances of the crime, and they each carry a different range of sentencing options. The following are the different types of murder charges:

  • Voluntary Manslaughter
  • Involuntary Manslaughter
  • 1st Degree Murder
  • 2nd Degree Murder
  • Criminally Negligent Homicide

When it comes to manslaughter, there is a vast difference between voluntary and involuntary charges. While voluntary charges imply that there was intent to kill or at least harm, involuntary implies that there was no intent to kill or harm a person. Drunk driving accidents that result in someone’s death are the most common types of involuntary manslaughter cases.

According to the website of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, if you are being accused of homicide or manslaughter, having a dedicated criminal defense lawyer is absolutely essential in making sure your right to a fair trial is protected. There are a lot of ways a person may want to defend him or herself in court, but they only get one chance at mounting said defense. This means that it is crucial that you find someone who can help you weigh the available defenses for your specific case and choose the most fitting one.

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Avoiding a Child Molestation Conviction

Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Criminal Law | 0 comments

Child molesters are perhaps one of the most reviled groups of people, and this is a sentiment shared by people of all persuasions, perhaps understandably. According to an article on Horst Law’s website, even the mere allegation of improper contact with a child is enough to ruin a person’s name and reputation, never mind that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The fact is, most people are paranoid about protecting children from harm, and will regard any person accused of such a crime with deep suspicion.

It is therefore no laughing matter to be accused of child molestation. A man in California suspected of molesting a 4-year-old child was shot dead by the fiancé of the child’s mother, and both the mother and fiancé are now facing murder charges. It turns out that the child had not been molested after all.

This kind of vigilante behavior is a reaction to incidents which brought about laws targeting child molesters such as Megan’s Law, named after a 7-year-old New Jersey girl named Megan Kanka who was the raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender. This law requires all convicted sexual offenders, including child molesters, to be included in a national registry. The information contained therein, which includes the name and address of the offender and updated regularly, is made available to the public so that people can find out if one is living in their neighborhood.

Inclusion in this registry effectively opens up an individual to public vilification and harassment, or worse. It is crucial that an individual falsely accused of child molestation retains effective legal representation to avoid a conviction. It is not unknown for a child to make accusations against a strict teacher, for example, or any adult against whom the child has a grudge. While it would be wrong to discount the testimony of a child, such a serious charge needs to be thoroughly investigated to confirm the facts. A good defense lawyer would make sure that all the relevant facts of the case are brought to light and contextualized to protect the rights of the client.

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Consequences of Getting Caught Shoplifting

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in Criminal Law | 0 comments

Shoplifting is one of the things that most people think of as a small matter, something harmless; however, it can have a lot of impact and is a common element in the criminal history of drug addicts and countless inmates. It may seem like a victimless crime, but it is still considered stealing, and stealing entails a wide range of penalties. Although most shoplifters have various reasons why they do the act, the result is always negative. Because the general public takes lightly of it, shoplifting has become the most prevalent crime in the United States.

Shoplifting is theft or stealing, and is considered a criminal offence regardless of the item that has been stolen. However, state laws may vary on how to penalize the thief; generally, shoplifting is considered a misdemeanor and charged with petty theft or larceny if the amount of the stolen goods is between $200-$500, while those that exceed $500 can be counted as a felony and be charged with grand theft or grand larceny. Things such as past history records, proper identification, cooperation during arrest, value of the stolen merchandise, and other factors can affect the penalties that will be given, as determined by police and / or the prosecutor.

Shoplifting, or stealing from stores including employee and vendor theft, can cost retailers billions of dollars every year; statistics show that every year the loss is estimated to be $20 billion dollars. Many retails stores have gone out of business because of this problem. Shoplifting is a serious crime, and it can lead to serious juvenile crimes.

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Automobile Manufacturers Issue Huge Recall over Dangerous Airbags

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Auto, Personal Injury Law | 0 comments

Six of the most popular automobile manufacturers have issued a huge recall over dangerous airbags whose inflator mechanisms do not work properly. Rather than filling the bags with air, these defective components launch plastic and metal bits through the airbag compartment.

The recall affects more than 3 million vehicles that were manufactured between the years 2001 and 2003. These include cars made by Honda, Nissan, Toyota, BMW, GM, and Mazda. You may notice that most of these vehicles are from the more popular Japanese manufacturers because they all received the airbag components from the same supplier, Takata Corporation. Many manufacturers use the same parts because it simplifies the manufacturing process and additionally cuts the cost per unit.

Luckily, no one has been hurt as a result of this defect so far. Automakers are replacing the defective airbags free of charge.

According to the Department of Transportation, airbags have saved more than 25,000 lives between 1987 and 2008. However, if you’ve been hurt as a result of a defective airbag, you may be able to hold the automobile’s manufacturer accountable for your injuries.

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