Five big money mistakes retirees make

By: David Pitt

For retirees to maintain their desired lifestyle without a paycheck — possibly for decades — they need a solid financial plan. They also need to steer clear of serious mistakes that could compromise their future income.Here’s a look at some common pitfalls retirees encounter, and ways to step around them to avoid financial disaster.1. Helping children too muchProblem:... READ MORE

Before giving charity, do a little research

By: Kathy Kristof

Every holiday season, consumers get pitched by numerous charities that hope the spirit of giving will pry open hearts and pocketbooks. The appeals often have a sense of urgency, especially this year, as many charities are struggling with increasing needs and declining donations because of the economic malaise.It’s hard to turn down charities at times. But for giving to be truly... READ MORE

Ways to keep holiday spending in check

By: Lisa Gerstner

1. Set a budget you can’t bust. Do it the old-fashioned way: Pull out a specified amount of cash to buy gifts. Once the green is gone, you’re done.If you’re not comfortable with carrying cash around, put the money on a prepaid credit card with a low (or no) fee. The American Express Prepaid card ( charges no purchase, activation or... READ MORE

Investing overseas for dividends, income

By: Jeffrey R. Kosnett

Despite the turmoil in stock markets around the world, this is a great time to home in on solid dividend-paying and growth stocks of foreign companies. Though it requires some extra research and may take you beyond your comfort zone, you’ll find hundreds of foreign stocks that trade in the U.S. as American depositary receipts (ADRs).The payoffs of high dividends and an expanding... READ MORE

How to qualify for elder care tax breaks

By: Kimberly Lankford

Q: My mother, who’s in the early stages of dementia, has moved in with me. She will attend an adult day care program while I’m at work. Can I deduct any of the expense of her care?A: You may be able to claim a dependent-care tax credit or set aside pretax dollars in a flexible spending account to pay for her care, as long as the expenses are necessary so that you (and your... READ MORE

Utilities funds deliver in declining market

By: Mark Jewell

But will they continue to grow in 2012?There’s plenty to like about utilities companies. Investors looking for stability will find their stock returns aren’t as choppy as the broader market, and they’re a source of reliable dividend income.Those traits are an outgrowth of the typically stable demand for electricity and natural gas. Homeowners and businesses keep the lights ... READ MORE