Five popular shopping myths debunked

By: Anne D’Innocenzio

If you think a super-sized container of peanut butter is always a better deal than a tiny version, think again. Bigger is not always cheaper. And don’t count on getting a bargain on designer goods at an outlet or off-price chain.Here are five common but mistaken assumptions about bargains — plus tips for avoiding getting fooled into paying too much.Myth No. 1. Bigger packages... READ MORE

Ways to get higher returns and limit risk

By: Elliot Raphaelson

You cannot obtain high rates of return without risk, and any financial planner who says otherwise is not being truthful.Following are two risky investments I made that paid off handsomely, along with a couple of options for those who are more risk averse.At the end of 2008, I purchased preferred stock in a highly rated Florida utility company with a coupon rate of 8 3/4 percent, paid on a... READ MORE

Which sectors best for market rebound?

By: Mark Jewell

The pain of the stock market meltdown is becoming a more distant memory thanks to the stunning rebound of mutual fund returns.An extreme example: Since the market bottomed in March 2009, real estate mutual funds have risen an average 195 percent, according to Morningstar. They invest primarily in real estate investment trusts, which were lifted by improving prospects for the... READ MORE

Old stock certificates may still have value

By: Joyce B. Siegel

“No value,” my stockbroker said to me. “You might just as well use ‘em for wallpaper. Just toss them.” He was talking about the pile of stock certificates my husband and I found more than 20 years ago when we were cleaning out my father-in-law’s house.This was just after I’d found a stash of mint condition U.S. postage stamp blocks I’d put... READ MORE

Answers to questions about Medicare

By: Kimberly Lankford

Q: I just received my first Medicare Part B bill of the year, and my monthly premium is $115.40, rather than the $96.40 that most people are paying. Why am I paying so much more than everyone else? I don’t earn enough to be hit by the high-income surcharge, and I’ve been covered by Medicare for several years. I’m 68, but I haven’t started collecting Social... READ MORE

Avoid the scams when donating to Japan

By: Beacon

Scammers wasted no time in taking advantage of the outpouring of compassion following Japan’s earthquake and tsunami disaster. Let it be a warning for charity-minded individuals to be on the lookout for phony aid appeals.One fraudulent scheme involves an e-mail claiming to be from the British Red Cross that asks recipients to make Japan aid donations via wire transfer, said FBI... READ MORE