What you need to know about target funds

By: Kathy M. Kristof

Apathy and neglect can be benign forces in the investing world. Need proof? Look no further than target-date funds.These set-it-and-forget-it investments — which annually adjust their holdings among a variety of investments in order to prepare shareholders for a particular year of retirement — have become ubiquitous in 401(k) plans since 2007. That’s when employers were... READ MORE

Pre-owned annuities: low risk, high return

By: Elliot Raphaelson

Most readers are looking for safe investments with a high rate of return. One investment that can meet these objectives is a pre-owned annuity.Many people own the rights to annuities that guarantee monthly income, sometimes for terms of up to 50 years. Some of these owners are willing to sell the legal right to their structured monthly payments, at a discount, for a lump-sum payment.There... READ MORE

How to contribute to political candidates

By: Michael Stratford

Knowing the rules of the game will help you decide how best to support your candidate.1. The sky is not (always) the limit. Individuals may donate up to $2,500 per candidate per election (the primary and general elections are counted separately), up to $30,800 to a national political party annually, and up to $10,000 to state, district and local parties combined each year.Individual... READ MORE

Diversifying? Don’t forget Canadian stocks

By: Mark Jewell

Building a truly diversified portfolio means going global.Many advisers suggest investors supplement their U.S. investments with stocks and bonds from fast-growing nations like China and Brazil. Growth prospects are grim in Europe, but there may be bargains to be found in the continent’s depressed markets.But it can be easy to overlook opportunities much closer to home. Think Canada.... READ MORE

Stock up on stocks that invest in staples

By: Anne Kates Smith

How bad would things have to get before you stopped putting ketchup on your fries? What kind of Armageddon would keep you from buying toilet paper, diapers or detergent?If you can’t imagine life without the products in your pantry, linen closet or laundry room, then you know why shares of companies that make consumer necessities have performed well, even in a dicey economy.In 2011,... READ MORE

Don’t overpay when filing 2011 tax return

By: Elliot Raphaelson

As in most years, there are several changes in the tax code that may have an impact on your 2011 tax return. Whether you prepare your own return or hire someone to do it for you, you should know what changes have been made. Even if someone else prepares your return, you are responsible for its accuracy.Certain changes, such as the increase in the standard deduction, will be apparent when... READ MORE