Alternative mutual funds “on steroids” can be risky

Mutual funds are supposed to be relatively safe, but a subset known as leveraged funds can be riskier than most because they use complex and aggressive trading strategies. One retiree shared her story with the Chicago Tribune. It even affected her relationship with her sister. The end of my Tribune story includes a helpful explanation of how leverage funds work. Image

In 2012, Cecilia Kruczek, of Schaumburg, learned that a brokerage employee had lost $100,000 of her money in a leveraged, actively traded fund just when she needed the cash. Recently, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued an investor alert about alternative or “alt” mutual funds, which use strategies that differ from the industry’s more typical buy-and-hold practice. (Terrence Antonio James, Chicago Tribune)


Chicago firm invests in medical marijuana researcher

Lincoln Park Capital of Chicago will invest up to $27 million in a Maryland company that plans to use some of the money for medical marijuana research, the Chicago Tribune reported recently.ImageJars containing various strands of medical marijuana sit behind a display case for awaiting patients. (Anthony Souffle / Chicago Tribune)

Video: Financial services at U.S. post office discussed w/ Bill Moller

I recently wrote about how the U.S. Postal Service is considering adding new financial products, including its own reloadable prepaid card and small loans, as a way to generate traffic and revenues as mail volumes decline, according to a report from the agency’s inspector general. It would mean competition for the payday loan industry. Bill Moller recently had me on his TV show to discuss the topic.