China to the rescue

Forget central banks, said Parmy Olson in The governments of hot emerging-markets are the world's new sources of "stability, liquidity, and support in times of dire need." China's state-run China Investment Corp. provided the latest example when it agreed to pump $5 billion into Morgan Stanley as the investment bank reported a huge loss. By investing in "risky assets" others won't touch, sovereign wealth funds are soothing "crisis-racked" markets.

The cost of a free lunch

"There is such a thing as a free lunch," said Marshall Loeb in MarketWatch. And even a free dinner. But be on guard if the meal comes courtesy of a broker looking for new customers—especially if the invitation includes promises of "unrealistic returns." Look into the broker's background, keep records of your meetings, and write checks to an independent account, not an individual. Follow those rules and you can "protect your assets from retirement rip-offs."