It pays to pay attention to stock fund fees

By: Mark Jewell

Price-conscious or not, consumers invariably slip from time to time. What’s the big deal if you buy something you want for $1.50 at a convenience store rather than spend $1 at a discounter?It can seem that way with mutual fund expenses, although investments clearly aren’t impulse buys. Many investors give little thought to the impact of choosing a fund that charges 1.5 percent... READ MORE

Dividend-paying stocks still looking good

By: Mark Jewell

Stock investors as a group ran in place in last year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended 2011 about where it started.Invest in a stock mutual fund, and you likely ended up losing because of fee expenses. About three-quarters of the U.S. stock fund categories that Morningstar tracks closed out the calendar year with a loss.That’s another knock for investors who are still... READ MORE

Money missteps many grandparents make

By: David Pitt

It’s so tempting to want to give your grandchildren everything, and to put their wants and needs first.However, one of the common money mistakes grandparents make is to put spending on grandkids ahead of their own retirement security.Here are three money missteps grandparents make and ways to avoid them:1. Excessively spoiling grandchildren Financial advisers and estate planners have... READ MORE

Social Security and Medicare Qs and As

By: Beacon

The Social Security Administration answers some common questions about Social Security and Medicare benefits.Question: I know that Social Security’s full retirement age is gradually rising to 67. But does this mean the “early” retirement age will also be going up by two years, from age 62 to 64?Answer: No. While it is true that under current law the full retirement age is... READ MORE

Stocks and mutual funds to own now

By: Kathy Kristof

With debt woes slamming Europe, firms that sell mainly in the U.S. and in emerging nations look especially attractive. Here are a selection of stocks and funds considered to be smart picks for 2012 by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance:Chevron (symbol CVX, $97). A spike in oil prices last summer helped the company report blockbuster third-quarter earnings. At today’s lower oil prices, ... READ MORE

A primer on risks and rewards of bonds

By: Mark Jewell

Baby boomers fully embraced the stock market by riding its ups and downs throughout their peak income years.But now that the oldest boomers are turning 65, their focus has turned toward ensuring a steady income from their investments. And they’re likely to find the answer is to put money in bonds rather than stocks, as recent market volatility shows.Consider that bonds have made stock ... READ MORE