True Contrarian Investments LLC
Steven Jon Kaplan began TrueContrarian.com in August 1996 as a weekly blog and later expanded this to a daily newsletter with intraday updates in February 2006. He has been trading his own account, and those of family and close friends, since 1981, and handles separately managed accounts for qualified clients. As a registered investment advisor, Steve charges a 20 % performance fee on net profits and no management fees. He has been quoted in Barron's, Market Watch, Dow Jones Newswires, Seeking Alpha, Kitco, and elsewhere and has appeared on Market Watch cable TV with Stacey Delo.
Steven's goal is to identify those assets which are farthest away from the best estimates of their realistic fair-value levels. This is done through designing algorithms which examine the most reliable signals in the financial markets. These include insider buying relative to selling; investor inflows and outflows; media and advisors' sentiment; and intraday behavior especially near multi-decade tops and bottoms. He studies historical interrelationships to mathematically identify which divergences from typical behavior are pointing the way toward essential trend changes.
Steve enjoys running with the New York Road Runners Club, composing and performing on piano and voice, writing stories, and traveling to unique places. He enjoys hearing from anyone about a wide range of topics, so please let him know what you think about the web site or whatever is on your mind. You can find his music on ReverbNation.
BES, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, The Johns Hopkins University
Assets Under Management:
20% of net profits; zero management fees.
True Contrarian Investments LLC
Steven Jon Kaplan explains why investors repeatedly fool themselves.
Steven Jon Kaplan: April 2010 conference
You didn't say which state you live in which is an important consideration. Especially if you live in a place with high state and local taxes like California and New York City, you should invest your money at TreasuryDirect.gov where you can currently get 2.24% for a six-month U.S. Treasury and 2.68% for a two-year U.S. Treasury. The interest is only paid upon redemption, and is free of state and local taxes. This is higher than you will get with most banks and both the principal and interest are guaranteed by the U.S. government. These are also the highest yields since 2007.
On a related topic, next year is not a good time to buy a house. Housing prices in the U.S. are substantially overvalued and will likely drop for four or five years. Wait until housing inventories are much higher and the media are asking how much lower prices will drop before buying.
It is not necessary to cancel any credit cards and doing so generally will not improve your credit rating. Simply don't use a particular card if you don't wish to do so, keeping a zero balance. The main thing is to always pay your bills promptly in full, which will definitely improve your credit rating.
One exception would be that it does make sense to cancel credit cards which have costs of any kind, such as required annual fees. Definitely cancel those and keep all the rest.
You should not be eager to purchase speculative investments that could drop sharply in price during a recession. Instead, I would recommend keeping your funds in your IRAs while allocating them into more conservative investments including bank CDs, U.S. Treasuries, and other guaranteed time deposits. That way you will minimize losing money which is your goal while retaining the tax advantages of a retirement account.
You should also list your age in future questions since that can affect the correct answer.
The emotional answer will always be to pay off all of your debt. However, that is not the correct answer. If you have a mortgage, an auto loan, a student loan, or any kind of loan which has already run 70% or more of its lifespan, such as a 30-year mortgage where 21 or more years have passed, then due to amortization your remaining payments are almost entirely principal and hardly any interest. You are therefore doing the lender a favor by prepaying early. You should only pay off loans where the loan has run less than 70% of its entire time interval.
The main exception would be if you are the kind of person where you would blow this money quickly on useless stuff, or you are very undisciplined and incapable of saving money. In that case you should pay off your loans so at least you won't have unpayable debts.
It is definitely a scam. The IRS is only permitted to contact you via old-fashioned snail mail. They are not allowed to telephone you, or to send you an email, or a text, or any of the methods which were invented after the mid-1800s. The IRS might say in a letter that they want you to telephone them, but never the other way around.
This is actually a common form of fraud since so many people are fooled by it.