JPM Pays Another $2 Billion Fine While Sirius XM Pops 7%

Good morning, good lookin'. Here are the three things you need to know on Jan. 7.

Jan 7, 2014 at 6:00AM
Time to take off those snowman embroidered Christmas pants -- because Wall Street's back to business with an intense week of earnings reports and monthly employment news. Unfortunately, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) fell 45 points Monday for its third straight loss of the New Year, on negative service sector news. 

1. JPMorgan Chase pays another billion-dollar fine for Madoff involvement
Tupac is a finance genius, 'cause some things just never change. Six days into 2014 and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) is amid another huge investigation for dirty banking practices -- this time the involvement in Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme. Jamie Dimon is opening the bank's wallet again, for $2 billion this time, to cleanse its public image and keep federal Investigators at bay. 

Bernie Madoff became the face of Wall Street greed after his fraudulent "investment fund" was revealed to be smoke and mirrors, and nothing more. Scores of investors lost their fortunes they entrusted him to invest (Madoff got sentenced to life in prison plus about a million years). It turns out the sophisticated Ponzi scheme ran through the pipes of JPMorgan Chase Bank, Madoff's bank of choice, for many years. Investigators suspect the bank turned a blind eye. 

After $18 billion in fines and settlements in 2013, JPMorgan is about to pay $2 billion more to end investigations of complicity in Madoff's crime. The $20 billion in fines in the past year would be equal to every single dollar spent in Afghanistan in an entire year (the war-torn country's GDP is about $20 billion). JPM stock, though, continues to be unfazed by the bazooka "I'm sorry" payments, as profits continue to churn through the megabank -- and believe it or not, these legal risks are well known in the JPM club.  
2. Sirius XM pops on acquisition broadcast
It sounds like good news ... for shareholders of Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI). That's because Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) is a major media conglomerate that currently owns 53% of America's largest satellite-radio provider but announced over the weekend it wants 100% of Sirius. Sirius stock popped 7.3% Monday on the news. Seriously. Sirius Stock hit No. 1 on Ryan Seacrest's Top 20 list, since there's major demand for the remaining 47% of non-Liberty-owned shares.
The takeaway is that this is all part of Liberty's plan to take over the world (kind of). Liberty also owns Charter Communications and is currently trying to raise $25 billion to take over Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) so it can own even more of the U.S. cable industry.

3. Factory orders hit historic high
Yank out your Ninja Turtles lunchbox, because the last time factory orders were this high was back in '92, when the data was first tracked. Domestic and growing international demand for U.S.-manufactured products rose 1.8% in November, for its second strong gain in three months
The takeaway is that the factory-orders report is divided between "new orders" and "shipments" of American-made goods of all sizes, from microwaves to big ol' rapper refrigerators, and both beat expectations. Wall Street wasn't super surprised, though, because econ data, from housing and labor markets, steadily improved over 2013 -- and 2014 is feeling good already.

  • Janet Yellen celebrates her Senate approval to be the first chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States.
  • U.S. International Trade Report
As originally published on

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Fool contributors Jack Kramer and Nick Martell have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase, Liberty Media, and Sirius XM Radio. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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