Best of the Web

Have you ever been a dinner party where everyone seemed to be talking to you at once?  Doubtless there were a lot of sensible insights there, but with so many voices clamoring for your attention, how did you know where to turn?  How could you even screen out the babble that kept drowning out the folks you really wanted to hear?  What if there seemed to be a dozen people, all worth hearing from? Who would you focus on?

Now imagine the web as a really, really big dinner party, one that never ends.  The web has (as of early 2012) 50 billion indexed pages.  That might represent only 20% of the actual information available; the rest resides in the unindexed Deep Web.   Just the phrase “mutual funds” turns up 52,000,000 webpages.  Confronted by such volume, most people simply despair, shut down and ignore the whole thing.  That’s okay if the subject is the latest Kardashian controversy.  It’s a big problem if you’re thinking about something vital to your success and security.

We’re here to help.  The Observer’s discussion community and readership is large, diverse and global; those of us behind the Observer’s scenes are often stunned by the remarkable depth, variety and sophistication of the topics highlighted by folks on our discussion board.  And so we’ve enlisted their aid in finding resources that are actually worth your time and attention.

I’m Junior Yearwood, the team leader for this project.  I am a freelance writer who has both run his own business and has worked in management at larger firms.  Most of my other work focuses on technology. I usually write reviews for software, hardware and consumer products, so I’m enjoying the challenge of reviewing something altogether bigger, while at the same time developing greater expertise in personal finance. If you’d like to learn a bit more about me, you’re welcome to visit my e-portfolio page here at the Observer. With your help and David’s, I’ll be profiling one set of websites that’s related to a common theme each month.  We’ll introduce the theme, highlight the most useful features of the most interesting sites, and perhaps give you a quick heads up on neighborhoods to avoid.

We’d like to thank Chuck Jaffe who originally had the idea. We think it’s a fine one.  Our success in pursuing it will depend on you, so if you’ve got ideas for categories or websites to seek or avoid, write me!

New and Noteworthy Site

LearnBonds Mutual Fund & ETF Ratings History and Focus LearnBonds (LB) Mutual Fund & ETF Ratings was launched in December 2011 by its co-founders Marc Prosser and David Waring. Marc Prosser is currently a Forbes contributor; previously he was the Chief Marketing Officer at Forex Capital Markets (FXCM). David Waring was formerly the Managing Director, business […]

August 2012 – Small fund company websites

The mutual fund industry may be strangled by its own success.  Many of the most senior fund managers and investment officers at June’s Morningstar Investment Conference sang the same refrain: “As fund companies have grown to manage hundreds of billions, and sometimes trillions of dollars, something precious has been lost.  We talk more now about […]

June 2012 – Retirement income calculators

There was a time not so long ago when retirement was something that most Americans took for granted. You worked for a company till you were 65, then you retired and collected a pension that allowed you to live comfortably. Since the 1990’s however, legislation and the changing economic landscape have meant that the number […]

May 2012 – Financial news aggregators

We all know the importance of accurate, current and relevant financial news. Even more than the news, we need some perspective on the news, some ability to separate important information from background noise and to place that information in a meaningful context. That responsibility has traditionally fallen to journalists, financial and otherwise. For anyone attempting […]

April 2012 – A Week of Podcasts

Do you remember the transistor radio?  For teens, it was an essential accessory – passport to hot tunes and popularity.  For adults, it was a passport of another sort – to the news of the day, world events, baseball contests, talk shows and a chance to learn something useful.  Static-y and limited to a handful […]

March 2012 – Mutual Fund Rating Sites

With 6700 U.S.-registered mutual funds to choose from, the Holy Grail of sites is one that answers the simple question: which of these damned things is going to give me the information I need to make money without making me sick!  A bunch of sites promise answers.  Almost none of them deliver.  While we thought […]