Top Ten: Weekend reads: life, money and the stock market

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Stock buybacks are more important to your financial health than you might realize. Companies boast of “returning capital” to you the shareholder by buying back shares. Some buybacks can help investors. But often what’s really going on is a giveaway to senior managers at your expense, Ben Hunt explains.

Where to retire: Panama, Malaysia or Mexico?

This 43-year-old is already dreaming of retirement near a beach at 62. Catey Hill names three possible locations.

For help in finding your own dream retirement destination within the U.S., check out MarketWatch’s ”where should I retire” tool.

The timing of stock-market crashes

Here’s a 15-year chart showing the total return (with dividends reinvested) of the S&P 500:


You can see how well the stock market recovered from the financial crisis and the tremendous growth is has experienced after that. All this worked out well provided you could wait for the recovery. But what if you are a retired investor? How likely are you to face a similar market crash-and-recovery cycle? Mark Hulbert gives the odds.

More from Hulbert: U.S. market is less overvalued now, but that doesn’t make stocks a ‘buy’

Rich and poor — the real numbers

Rex Nutting looks at some fascinating — and alarming — statistics that show how new wealth is allocated in the U.S.

How a money manager beats the stock market

Most fund managers can’t outperform their benchmark indexes. But there are exceptions. Michael Brush interviews Paul Green, the manager of the T. Rowe Price Communications & Technology Fund PRMTX, -0.25%, who sums up his winning strategy.

Related: Why it’s tough to tell if a mutual-fund manager has really beaten the market

‘Fixing’ what isn’t broken

Shareholder resolutions are a way for investors — even individuals with as little as $2,000 in a company’s stock — to raise concerns over how a company is run. In recent years, resolutions have brought about changes in corporate governance, improved efforts to curb pollution and other environmental damage and modernized policies to prevent discrimination against employees. But the Securities and Exchange Commission is now considering changes that may make it much more difficult for smaller investors’s voices to be heard, according to Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.

The real plastic pollution problem — and some solutions

Jurica Djumovic explains how the oceans are being polluted with plastic (the real culprit may surprise you) while also describing new technologies that may help clean it up.

Estate planning to benefit a troubled child

Quentin Fottrell — MarketWatch’s Moneyist — helps an elderly couple worried that leaving $1.6 million to someone who cannot manage money won’t do any good.

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