Deep Blue Publications Group LLC: Why you should Secure your Financial Info

You might have subscribed to a credit monitoring service or a special insurance so you're not really worried if crackers did make use of your credentials to conduct fraud, but you probably didn't think that recovery from a case like that will take many months of unpaid time and effort.

The issue is not getting any easier to deal with: While crackers are getting their hands on an ever-growing treasure trove of sensitive data even from big players like Sony and Target, an increasing number of those records are also getting used. Deep Blue Publications Group LLC estimates that 30% of US citizens affected by a security breach eventually became a fraud victim last year. 

A case study done by Deep Blue Publications Group LLC included a victim of a data breach from 2013 who was afterwards provided with a free service of credit monitoring. The monitoring apparently paid off as they discovered that new accounts have been created in two other giant retailers which racked up over USD 7,000 in charges using the victim's credentials. He would then spend the next 8 months filing reports, submitting documents and talking on the phone all to clear up his record in the concerned agencies and in proving his innocence to his bank.

In most cases, those effort and time spent following up the incident is wasted unless a special insurance has been bought beforehand or the victim has sued -- and won.

The only thing that's arguably worse than credit card fraud is debit card fraud -- victims could end up with literally an empty bank account as any transaction on a debit card readily reflects to the bank account. Also, it takes a long period of time before any fund gets restored, if at all.

Banks may be able to absorb the fraudulent charges but there will still be a lot of headache involved on the victims' part before they recover their money and clean their credit history. What's more, it could get frustrating when they realize that such cases of identity theft are hardly prosecuted.


Deep Blue Publications Group LLC: How Retirement Funds Could Turn On You

One of the biggest dilemmas people face today is what financial experts like to call the "variation of outcomes". In a more practical sense, it would mean the difference between those students who were on the top 10 during your high school, for example: 5 made it into Ivy League schools, 3 got into other universities, one went to work and the other took a break. In short, even in a supposed set of people, you can never predict what will happen in the future.

And when it comes to retirement investments, people tend to have similar strategies on withdrawal that consequently points to various outcomes. Case in point: how investors could have survived the peak of the 90s bull market which was viewed as one of the worst times to start withdrawing.

For example, you had 1 million USD invested by the end of 1999 and then decided to withdraw a fix rate of 5% (50,000 USD) every year. Five percent turns out to be a sustainable enough withdrawal rate, even with the inflation taken into account according to Deep Blue Publications Group LLC planners. (Note:  There really is no recommended sustainable percentage of withdrawals as brokers themselves admit they get antsy when clients begin to take more than 6% annually.)

Naturally, the outcome will be widely different depending on one's timing and specific investment. Then what's the lesson learned from that period of 2 consecutive bear markets?

* Do not withdraw from stock funds during a bear market for this will significantly increase your losses. Besides, once the fund rebounded, your withdrawals will decrease in value.

* Most popular funds of the month are not always recommended. They could have been overpriced and overstuffed which is perhaps why it had a supposed 'good' performance during previous quarters.

* Don't bet all your shares during retirement especially if you retire at the start of a multi-year bear market.

It does make a great difference if your investments are not that closely related with stocks as a safeguard for any unexpected outcome. The usual choice in making a diverse portfolio today is bonds but this could also mean you'll get hit once the interest rates increase. Consider foreign bonds instead, or get into real estate and gold, all of which are not that related with stocks.

In the end, the amount you withdraw at a given year is still based on a number of factors such as life expectancy, existing loans and lifestyle. Just make sure you avoid a wide "variation of outcomes" from your investments.


Investing Guide at Deep Blue Group Publications LLC Tokyo: 10 Tips for Successful Investing

Bad news always makes the headlines, while good news is rarely reported and, over the past 15 years we’ve seen constant negative headlines when it comes to stock markets. We’ve witnessed two huge market crashes, with the end of the tech bubble in 1999 and the recent financial crisis of 2008 resulting in almost 50% declines. Then every few months we hear of another company blowing up. The latest examples are Tesco, Balfour Beatty and Quindell, and there have also been the Madoff and Enron fraud scandals!

So it’s not surprising that most ordinary people view the market as a risky gamble, which may or may not pay off. However, for the most part, our stock market works well and has actually produced some good returns over the long term. Investing is also not nearly as hard as you might think. Anyone can do it, and be successful, as long as they understand a few basic principles.

The 10 tips

1. First, pay off any high interest debt, such as credit cards or bank loans, before you even consider investing. This is less a principle and more a golden rule! There’s no point investing when you’re paying huge interest on debts.

2. Then consider your goal and your investment time horizon. If you’re saving for a house deposit and plan to buy in the next couple of years, then investing in the stock market is probably not appropriate because a big fall in the market might prevent you from reaching your goal. The key point to remember is that the longer your time horizon the better chance you have of making money in the stock market. If you’re going to be investing for over 10 years you should consider some exposure to the stock market.

3. Think about your risk tolerance and be honest. Some people just can’t handle the swings of the stock market and it causes them sleepless nights. If you’re one of these people you shouldn’t be investing in stocks. Be aware that the stock market will almost certainly go through a major crash in the future but it’s impossible to know when. Prepare yourself for this before you invest. Unfortunately many smaller investors sell out at the bottom of the market after a big sell-off and miss out on the subsequent rally. That’s exactly what you want to avoid.

4. Buy a fund not a stock. Buying a single stock can be very risky, even if you hear a great tip from a mate in the pub! Choosing stocks that will beat the overall market is hard and requires a huge amount of time, energy and experience. Remember if you’re buying an individual stock you’re saying you know more than all the other professional investors in the market. So consider buying a fund instead. If one or two stocks in the fund go bust you won’t lose all your money. There are two types of fund, passive and active. Passive funds simply try and match the entire performance of a stock market as best they can. Active funds employ a fund manager who actively takes positions and tries to beat the market. It’s much easier to research a fund than it is a stock. Websites such as provide a list of managers who have historically been skilful, as well as performance data and free research on their favourite funds. As you become a more experienced investor you may decide to invest in individual stocks but you shouldn’t if you’re a beginner.

5. Diversify. A classic investing mistake is when an investor puts all their money in a single stock, only for them to lose all their money when the stock crashes. By investing in a fund that makes many different investments, you immediately diversify and protect yourself. You can also diversify by region (UK, Europe and Asia, for example), company size and asset class – you don’t have to invest in stocks, you can also invest in bond funds or property funds, for example. Bonds are money that is lent to governments, corporations and municipalities in return for periodic interest payments. They have typically given a lower return, but they are generally much less volatile than stocks and, even more importantly, they often do well when equities are doing badly.

6. Understand what your investment. Whatever sort of investment you choose, make sure you understand it. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Check a fund’s underlying investments on the factsheet. The Madoff scandal happened because no one bothered to check what he was actually doing. Beginner investors may want to check that their fund is an onshore fund. An onshore fund protects you in cases of fraud to the value of £50,000 per fund group. Of course this doesn’t mean you’re protected if the value of the fund’s investments fall.

7. Start small. You don’t need to be rich to invest. For example, at Chelsea Financial Services you can invest with as little £50. Even making a small investment will get you in the habit of saving and following it will help you to build up your financial knowledge.

8. Consider monthly savings. You don’t have to invest all your money at once. One of the best ways to start is by investing monthly. By investing monthly you can invest gradually, enabling you to take advantage when prices fall. Putting a fixed amount into a fund every month, regardless of market behaviour, is known as ‘pound-cost averaging’. Monthly investing promotes the discipline of saving, whereby a small amount invested every month over several years can build into a sizeable nest egg.

9. Get value for money. Charges matter and unfortunately many providers aren’t transparent. At Chelsea we only have our service charge (0.4% a year) and a Cofunds platform charge (0.2% a year). There are no other charges for anything else. Watch out for providers who take a minimum monthly charge or charge you for each transaction. There’s no point in investing £100 a month if there’s a minimum charge of £8 a month or if it costs £5 for each trade. Also watch out for the charges of the actual funds. Look at the OCF (ongoing charge figure) which includes the (annual management charge). An OCF of greater than 1% is very high and should be avoided in most cases.

10. Don’t trade your funds – there’s a big difference between a trader and an investor. Don’t pay too much attention to noise in the media. Beginners should not trade their investments. This can be expensive and is usually pointless. A wise man once said that the stock market is a very efficient mechanism of transferring money from the impatient to the patient. Choose your initial funds carefully and then review them every so often. Once every six months should be enough.


Investing Guide at Deep Blue Group Publications LLC Tokyo - Investing in You: How to hunt bargains like a pro

There are savvy shoppers. Then there are holiday crazies - expert, rabid consumers who combine coupons, compare online vs. in-store bargains via smartphone, and put us all to shame.

Edgar Dworsky, proprietor of nonprofit consumer advocate Consumer, is among the latter.

Here's what he does before buying anything, most especially during this season of shopping insanity, along with tips from some other parties:

Chart price history. Start by visiting sites like,,, and, as well as Google Shopping,, and eBay. This year,  the Wall Street Journal has launched a "Christmas Sale Tracker" on 10 popular items that updates constantly. alerts shoppers when prices drop.

"Sometimes, what seems like a good deal today really isn't a good deal vs. six months ago," Dworsky says. "Also, read negative reviews and horror stories. There are lemons out there, so do your homework online."

Reviews can be found at sites such as,, Consumer Reports, or

Combine savings. Let store credit cards, coupons, loyalty programs, and promo codes work for you. Try and, coupon apps you download on a phone.

Assuming you're not creeped out by the Minority Report overtones, RetailMeNot's app tracks your physical location to send relevant deals. Walking by Old Navy or Macy's? The app senses your location and sends you a coupon.

"There's no clipping, no carrying paper coupons around, and you can also save these coupons on your phone. RetailMeNot will alert you when the coupons expire," says Trae Bodge, a RetailMeNot blogger in Montclair, N.J. is a loyalty program for Sears and Kmart that Dworsky uses to buy appliances. "If you're renovating a house, you can rack up a lot of points buying all your appliances from Sears," he says, "and maybe get 2 percent back if you use a Sears credit card."

Check for rebates. Just prior to buying, Dworsky checks with or to see whether those sites will pay cash back for purchases at major retailers such as Sears.

"Prices on Kenmore appliances, for instance, are typically inflated," he explains, "so it's a great way to get extra savings."

Take credit. For the love of money (say, fraud, security, and repair costs), don't shop with a debit card or cash. You have everything to lose by using debit cards, and cash payment doesn't offer warranty extension or returns protection.

"Unless you are someone for whom credit is like booze and you can't control yourself using it, avoid paying cash or debit," Dworsky says.

Some credit cards double warranties on refurbished items. ( compares extended warranties.)

Dworsky uses a Fidelity Investments credit card with 2 percent cash back and price-protection coverage, and a Chase Freedom Visa card. Both offer warranty extensions.

Some card issuers also generate one-time "virtual" credit card numbers, Dworsky says, which "I like to use when I'm shopping in an unfamiliar place." It's called a "shop-safe" card number, issued once and with a short-term expiration date and credit limit, to help prevent fraud.

Online deals honored?

Last season, Walmart did not honor lower Internet prices on some items, partially because the two divisions within America's largest retailer compete with each other, Dworsky says. Kohl's uses electronic signs in its stores that change prices every hour, complicating comparisons with online pricing.

Traditionally, Apple offers discounts of up to 10 percent, but last year ditched the discount and instead paired products with Apple gift cards. Retailers including MacMall, Best Buy, and Walmart offered significantly better deals.

This year, Dworsky again recommends avoiding Apple stores. "Unless you're in the market for an Apple refurb - which is a great way to save money on Apple devices - there's no reason to shop from Apple during the holidays," he says.

Upscale retailers Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom offer a "pick up in store" option. Target and Crate & Barrel are copying that, says Wharton professor David Bell, author of Location Is (Still) Everything.

Location determines sales more than ever, Bell says: "We think the Internet flattens out our options. But if you live next door to a drugstore, likely you're going to go downstairs for diapers there every day, rather than shop at all the time.

"Your physical world defines your options," he says. "If you're in the Philly suburbs 30 minutes from a store, then looks good."

Bell helps retailers Nike and Ann Taylor analyze how e-commerce does when a new store opens.

Crate & Barrel, for instance, began offering a "buy online and pick up in the store" option, he says, that instead drove traffic into the brick-and-mortar.


The Big Story Isn’t What You Think It Is: Investing Guide at Deep Blue Group Publications LLC Tokyo

For the past six years, the mainstream has looked for the one thing that would cause markets to crash. They’ve come up with no end of ideas. Each has failed miserably. After a few wobbles here and there, the market hasn’t crashed.

That doesn’t mean that it won’t one day, but so far the mainstream has gotten it horribly wrong.

The one thing the mainstream has picked up on is the falling oil price. But even there they haven’t got it 100% right. As usual, they have only scratched at the surface. They aren’t looking at the layers beneath.
The key to understanding the falling oil price is that it’s not just about slowing economic growth or cheaper fuel at the petrol pump. It’s about understanding the knock-on effect of lower oil prices on the oil industry, on the economy, on consumer confidence, and on the rest of the financial markets.
If there’s one thing you should know about the markets and economies, it’s that everything is connected. The oil price can’t rise or fall by US$20–30 a barrel without it impacting every market sooner or later.

If the oil price stays below US$70 per barrel, or continues to fall even further, it will have a huge impact on the world’s markets. It will create an environment where stocks ultimately rise to a record high over the next four years before crashing in spectacular fashion.

That’s right, the downturn that happened on the ASX recently was nasty. But it wasn’t the big event. Nonetheless, that volatile period scared many investors out of the market as they thought it was the big crash. As the market settles and begins to rise, these same investors will realise their mistake and begin piling back into the market.

When they do, stocks will take off again.

That can seem hard to believe with all the scary headlines in the papers. But that’s how markets work. Sometimes they scare the heck out of investors. Investors panic and sell. Then they panic and buy back in again.

The result will be what I see as a four-year rally that will take stocks to a record high in 2018. And I don’t just mean a small advance from where the Dow Jones Industrial Average is today. I’m talking about the Dow rising another 50–100% from where it is today…and the Aussie index taking out a new high as it surges past the 2007 peak.

It could mean that the Aussie index doubles, perhaps triples from where it is today. Again, I know that may sound outrageous. It’s supposed to. Bull markets tend to begin when the market is in the throes of despair.

But you shouldn’t for a moment think that I’m cheerleading for stocks to go higher, or that I’m ignorant to the problems facing the world economy.

This isn’t about stocks doubling over the next four years and then continuing to rise forever. This is about the events that are happening today that will lead to an extraordinary stock rally and then a just as extraordinary bust.

China isn’t the only fraud

It’s not just the Aussie market and oil taking a beating — or gold, although it has rebounded recently.
The Chinese market continues to get roughed up. Despite China’s huge growth rate of 7.3%, the market still seems to be more focussed on the slowing growth rate rather than the aggregate growth.
It’s amazing. Even if China’s growth rate stock market averages 5% in the years ahead, the economy will still double in size from where it is today in less than 15 years.

Just think about that for a second. As big as China’s economy is today, in 15 years it could be twice as big. At the moment China’s GDP is around US$10 trillion. The US economy’s GDP is around US$18 trillion. So if China grows at a 5% average growth over the next 15 years it will exceed the size of today’s US economy.

I don’t know about you, but to me that’s incredible.
And yet the mainstream can only focus on one thing, the potential for China’s economy to collapse. It explains this report in the Financial Times:

‘China’s foreign exchange regulator has uncovered $10bn in fake cross-border trade since April last year and has turned 15 cases over to police in a crackdown aimed at curbing hot money flows…

‘The gap between Chinese customs data on exports to Hong Kong and Hong Kong customs data on imports from China hit an all-time high of $28bn in March last year. The gap is viewed as a proxy for how much exporters are inflating their invoices. But by July this year, the gap had fallen to $9bn.’