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Money On My Mind

A reader’s observation on American education:

“The educational system is screwed up, not because of a focus on test scores, but because the curriculum has the wrong focus. This has been a problem for decades. 

“Kids don’t understand how debt impacts their lives. They don’t know how to apply math, are not learning foreign languages and cultures. Life skills need to be a focus.

“Preparing for standardized tests is fine but the tests need to be the correct material. Passing out participation trophies is not helpful just as having no standards for teachers would be problematic.  

“Some schools have great leadership and don’t need tests to hold teachers accountable but many don’t, so creating a standard is a necessary evil. The focus of the standard is what needs attention.”

And this from a teacher who’s in the trenches:

“Teachers don’t only care about their salaries and early retirement. They hate [standardized] tests and they’re not what the majority of teachers want.

“Teachers are constantly trying to find ways to motivate their students but some bureaucrat comes in, has no idea what really goes on in a classroom and comes up with senseless rules.

“Teachers can’t finish all the things required of them (grading, planning lessons and giving students extra help) in the school day so they work until 6 pm like everyone else except they don’t get paid. They work those hours for free.

“Next time you talk about teachers, talk about them with respect because, in addition to the above, they worry about job safety every year when the school system decides on a budget.”

We have all the respect in the world for good teachers. And there are plenty of them.

As for bureaucrats with their standardized tests, we think they should be required to be in a classroom regularly. It might change their outlook and make them more real-world focused.

What are your thoughts on standardized tests, especially the all-important SAT?

Your Rundown for Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Mind Your Money

When it comes to your brokerage account, don’t forget your cash.

(In the immortal words of Snoop Dogg, this should be your policy: With my mind on my money and my money on my mind.)

Yes, your brokerage account is almost entirely about equities but most accounts are set up with a cash sweep account. That’s where cash from dividends, interest, stock sales and the like accumulate.

And it’s pretty important because it might also be the place where you execute “buys”.

But your friendly, neighborhood broker could be pulling a fast one, wringing more money out of you by not putting sweep-account cash into higher-interest money market mutual funds. Instead, sweeping cash into a bank account — often affiliated with the brokerage.

What’s the big deal?

Metaphorically, you’re leaving money on the table. According to Crane Data, the average interest rate for the 100 largest money market funds is about 2%; the average for a bank? Just 0.27%.

To give you an idea…

chart

If you have a $50,000 balance in your sweep account, the difference between 2% and 0.25% for the year is $875; it’s $175 on a $10,000 balance. Might not seem like a lot but think about how you could put that “lost” money to work.

Wondering what your cash is doing in your sweep account? Your brokerage is required to release that information to you. Don’t skip the fine print.

If you’re unhappy with how your money’s being handled, check out MaxMyInterest. It’s a cash management platform that does exactly what it says — finds the best interest rates for your money.

Market Rundown for Tues. November 27, 2018

S&P 500 futures are down 1.44 points to 2,672.

Oil is up slightly to $52 for a barrel of WTI.

Gold is down $5.70 to $1,216.70.

Bitcoin’s down $65.64 to $3,719.13.

Have a good day. We’ll talk tomorrow.

For the Rundown,

Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler

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Aaron Gentzler is the publisher of Seven Figure Publishing. He is also the editor of The Rundown. Aaron’s been with Agora Financial/Seven Figure Publishing for 13 years. He's been covering technology and markets for over a decade.

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