Quick fixes to lower home heating costs

By Patricia Mertz Esswein
Posted on March 05, 2014

Your home may be your castle, but you don’t have to pay a king’s ransom to keep it warm. Here are some solutions to common problems. 1. It’s cold inside If you haven’t already sealed out wintry drafts, apply weather-stripping and clear plastic film over windows, and add door sweeps. To find out where else your home is losing energy, hire an energy auditor ($250 to $600)... READ MORE

How to find and use the best credit cards

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on February 21, 2014

For most financial institutions, extending credit (and collecting interest from the credit card holders) represents a significant portion of their income. Their objective is to develop products that will maximize their profit.Your objective, on the other hand, should be to use the credit they offer to maximize benefits for you. Here are some suggestions.First, make every effort to pay down... READ MORE

The tide is turning from bonds to stocks

By Stan Choe
Posted on February 15, 2014

After years of sticking with plain-vanilla bond funds, investors are starting to turn their backs on them and opt for stocks instead. The move isn’t big enough to be the “great rotation” from bonds to stocks that many experts predicted. But fund managers say more is on the way.Investors plugged $198 billion into stock mutual funds through the first 11 months of 2013.... READ MORE

Beware of the deadly sins of investing

By Kathy Kristof
Posted on February 07, 2014

You’ve probably heard of the seven deadly sins. Well, the investing world has its own set of deadly sins.To be a better investor, you’d do well to recognize the following missteps and learn how to overcome them.Following the herdFollowing the herd works when you shop for a product. A car or washing machine that’s performed well in the past is likely to excel in the... READ MORE

Don’t bet on a great stock market in 2014

By Steve Rothwell
Posted on February 05, 2014

Don’t bet your shirt on a repeat performance.That’s the message from some of the biggest U.S. investment firms as the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 16,000 for the first time at the end of 2013, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index had its best year since 1997, with a gain of 29.6 percent.Although investment professionals remain optimistic, investors... READ MORE

Opening the door to discounts, freebies

By Jamie Lee Pricer
Posted on January 29, 2014

Editor’s note: The Coachella Valley world of discounts for seniors is too extensive to cover in one story. Look for more in future issues.Growing older has its perks.You’ve heard that before, then remember your groaning knees and creaky back and snort.But life is not all painful — take the world of senior discounts that abound in the Coachella Valley.First, you have to get ... READ MORE

Stores are getting stingy about returns

By Kaitlin Pinsker
Posted on January 16, 2014

As you’re double-checking your holiday shopping list, tack on a reminder to read each store’s return policy before making your purchase. Some retailers are feeling a little less generous when it comes to returns. Such stingier policies are intended to combat return fraud. Fraudulent returns cost retailers $8.9 billion in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation, $2.9 billion ... READ MORE

How to cool the cost of high heating bills

By Jonathan Fahey
Posted on January 11, 2014

After two years of flat or lower fuel prices, many residents will pay sharply more to heat their homes this winter, according to government forecasts. Fortunately, there are a number of ways residents can blunt the expected rise in heating bills — beyond putting on a turtleneck. Staying warm is expected to cost more because fuel prices are rising and forecasts call for cooler... READ MORE

Good financial advice that’s available free

By Anya Kamenetz
Posted on December 17, 2013

Between the rocky rollout of Obamacare and the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis, it’s been a jittery season for finances. There’s so much new information, and so many decisions to be made with the facts in flux: sell or hold stocks? Change your health plan or stick with what you’ve got? We live in a time when there are more avenues than ever for learning about what to ... READ MORE

Profiting from the new oil and gas boom

By Kathy Kristof
Posted on December 06, 2013

Decades of importing crude from the vast Arabian deserts left many people believing that America’s dependence on foreign oil was as inevitable as the tide. But sweeping changes in the way oil and gas are extracted are challenging that assumption.The United States, which was once so dependent on imported oil that energy laws were designed to conserve domestic reserves, is now expected... READ MORE