Before giving charity, do a little research

By: Kathy Kristof
Posted on: December 01, 2011

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
Posted on: December 01, 2011

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 (www.americanexpress.com/prepaid) charges no purchase, activation or... READ MORE

Investing overseas for dividends, income

By: Jeffrey R. Kosnett
Posted on: November 18, 2011

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
Posted on: November 18, 2011

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
Posted on: November 01, 2011

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

Scams target used car shoppers online

By: Eileen AJ Connolly
Posted on: November 01, 2011

It’s another case of “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”The FBI is warning online auto shoppers to watch out for deals that offer cars at very low prices, then direct unwitting buyers to phony websites designed to separate victims from their money. The agency says more than $44.5 million was stolen through such scams from 2008 to 2010.The agency said there... READ MORE