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Rigged Money: Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game


Praise for Rigged Money

"If you've ever had the feeling that the stock market was a mug's game, this book's for you. During these tough times we need more straight talk and less marketing hype about how to invest responsibly. Lee Munson is a rare insider who's willing to tell it like it is, and he tells it very well!"—Andrew W. Lo, Chief Investment Strategist, AlphaSimplex Group

"Lee is a sharp guy who doesn't hold back on his opinions. This book is not just a repeat of what you've seen before."—Jeffrey Kosnett, Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance and

"It has been said that no man can serve two masters. Lee Munson understands perfectly that asset management is about serving one master—clients! Read this book and Lee will tell you why this simple truth is self-evident."—Rodney N. Sullivan, CFA, Editor, Financial Analysts Journal

"When I read Lee Munson's book, Rigged Money, I was reminded of an old Beetle Bailey cartoon by Mort Walker. A recurrent character named Zero was asked to confirm whether a Jeep's turn signals were working. He dutifully reported 'Working. Not Working. Working. Not Working.' That's a good way to describe Lee Munson's observations about the potions and prescriptions that Wall Street tries to peddle to us mere humans. If you really want to understand how we got to this peculiar investment environment, you need to read Lee's book. There are ideas and strategies that work sometimes, and fail horribly at other times. Lee takes us through the history of how these ideas get recycled and reused in an effort to take the customers' money to support Wall Street's aims. And he also gives us insights about how to avoid falling into the same traps which capture 'the crowd.' Rigged Money is a great way for readers to see the investing picture as it really is, and not as the slick commercials want you to believe it is. You should consider this book a 'buy and hold forever' asset."—Tom McClellan, Editor, The McClellan Market Report

Lee Munson worked as a speculative traderduring the dot-com boom and bust until he had an epiphany and began to question everything about his approach to investments. Realizing that Wall Street is a game that isn't always played to give investors a fair chance at winning, Munson went on to form an asset management firm, Portfolio LLC, in New Mexico that is ranked as one of the fastest growing firms in the country. A frequent guest on CNBC's The Kudlow Report, he is a contributor for and is quoted in numerous financial publications such as the Wall Street Journal, SmartMoney, and the Kiplinger Report.
Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

PART I Old School . . . of Thought

Chapter 1 Buy and Hope: The Scam? 3

Blame the Dutch! 5

All the Wrong Moves? 7

Time Is Not on Your Side 14

My Dinner with Burton 19

Chapter 2 Lie of the Pie 23

Today’s Outrage: Pie Town 23

The Original Pie Crust 26

Breaking Eggs, Then the Entire Kitchen 29

So, What Is Next? Risk Budgeting! 34

PART II Wall Street: The Set Up

Chapter 3 Mayday 43

How the SEC Let the Dogs In 43

Mayday, We Have Soft Dollars! 45

Soft Dollars 47

Death of the Stockbrokers 49

Short History of Advice 51

Avoiding Fleas 55

Chapter 4 Research by the Pound 57

Research by the Pound 64

The Report Trail 67

Chapter 5 401(k): Gun to Your Head 71

How We Became Traders 72

The Mutual Fund Supermarket Is Born 76

No Stockbroker Is an Island 80

Chapter 6 Liquid Casino 87

Liquidity Is God 87

Why Dark Is In 94

When the Lights Go Out 97

PART III Surviving the Rigged Game

Chapter 7 How Wall Street Sees You 101

Is That Really What You Want? 101

Taking a Strong Opinion Too Far? 104

Cramer Is Driving Me Crazy 106

How a So- Called Pro Fools Himself 108

Other Distorted Images 109

Chapter 8 ETFs: Fact or Fiction? 113

Selling the Sizzle 116

Getting Down to Earth 118

The Audit Part I: Sectors 119

The Audit Part II: Grain Wars 122

The Audit Part III: Junk Is Garbage 125

The Final Audit: We Have a Winner! 127

The Virus Goes Airborne 130

Chapter 9 Gold Is Money 133

Historical Use of Gold 137

Gold Is Standardized 142

Control versus Live Free or Die 144

Brave New Non- Pegged World 146

Chapter 10 Options: Really? 149

Do You Want Them? 149

Practical Strategies 151

Chapter 11 Dividends: A Conundrum! 157

The Pitch 158

The Early Days 160

Growth Breaks Out 164

What’s Next? 167

Chapter 12 The New Scam 169

How Did We Get Here? 170

History Repeats Itself 173

Further Down the Rabbit Hole 179

Credit Unions 185

Corporate Credit Unions 188

Afterword 191

Notes 193

About the Author 197

Index 199