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What the experts say

Hedge funds for the masses??; What’s your real credit score?; Buy green, act mean?

Hedge funds for the masses Exchange-traded funds now exist to track practically “every conceivable investment ?niche,” said Thomas Anderson in Kiplinger.com. A handful of ETFs are even trying to mimic hedge funds—which typically employ such unconventional strategies as short selling and arbitrage to maximize returns. “You may consider this welcome news, if you don’t have?the big bucks normally required to invest in hedge funds.” But, given the complexity of hedge-like investing techniques, “many wonder whether these ETFs can come close to reproducing the performance of hedge funds.” For that reason, give these “untested” ETFs ?a few years to prove their performance before you invest. In the meantime, a “seasoned ?hedge fund–like mutual fund,” such as Hussman Strategic Growth, is a low-cost alternative.?

What’s your real credit score?The answer to the question “What’s my credit score?” depends on whom you ask, said Andrea Coombes in Marketwatch.com. Different services will provide different numbers, depending on which credit companies supplied the data, the method­ology used to calculate scores, and the scales being used. “None is necessarily wrong,” but the numbers can’t necessarily be compared to one another. If you’re “just curious” about where you stand, free sites such as CreditKarma.com, Quizzle.com, and Credit.com can give you an idea. But if you’re in the market for a loan, you’ll need the score that most lenders use. That “tends to be the FICO score.” A single report from TransUnion or Equifax costs $15.95.Buy green, act mean?The market for environmentally friendly products is booming, said Ryan Sager in SmartMoney. In part, that’s simply because many just feel good when they buy green. But those who buy biodegradable soap aren’t necessarily better people than the rest of us, according to a recent study by the University of Toronto. It examined how subjects who bought “green” products behaved in other contexts—and found that they were, in fact, more likely than others to cheat, steal, or otherwise “act like a jerk.” It’s not that green shoppers are “secretly frauds.” Rather, they’re exhibiting what researchers call “moral self-regulation”—that is, subconsciously balancing their good behaviors with not-so-good ones.

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