Books offer do-it-yourself financial advice

By Beacon
Posted on June 17, 2011

Consider adding these recently released financial books to your shelf or e-reader (all are available as e-books). Look for more suggestions in upcoming issues.Debunkery: Learn It, Do It, and Profit From It — Seeing Through Wall Street’s Money-Killing MythsAuthor: Ken FisherPrice: $27.95Summary: Debunkery is the seventh book by Ken Fisher, the founder and CEO of Fisher... READ MORE

Social Security stops mailing statements

By Mark Miller
Posted on June 17, 2011

What age should you file for Social Security benefits? It’s one of the most critical decisions you’ll make that affects long-term retirement security.One of the best decision-making tools to help with that decision is the annual benefit projection that we all receive in the mail from the Social Security Administration (SSA).But the SSA is about to stop mailing out those... READ MORE

Investors see upside to expensive gasoline

By Mark Jewell
Posted on June 01, 2011

Think positive. The pain you’re feeling at the pump from $4-a-gallon gas may become a little easier to bear once you receive your next quarterly mutual fund statement.Chances are your fund portfolio holds big oil names that have been reporting Texas-sized profits and boosting dividends paid to their investors. Exxon Mobil, for example, is the biggest component in the Standard &... READ MORE

Managed funds losing out to index rivals

By Mark Jewell
Posted on June 01, 2011

Pay a fund manager above-average fees, and it’s reasonable to expect you’ll have a better than 50-50 chance of beating the stock market.Yet the latest numbers show a majority of managers aren’t keeping up their end of the deal. It’s a key reason why investors have been pulling cash out of managed funds at a rapid clip in recent years. It’s even happening to big ... READ MORE

How divorce affects your Social Security

By Kathy Kristof
Posted on May 15, 2011

Consider this: Roughly half of the people who get married in the United States will end up divorced. And Social Security is the primary source of income for 72 percent of unmarried retirees, many of whom are single because they’re divorced.Unfortunately, few financial advisors put those two facts together and focus on how divorce, as well as remarriage, can affect retirement planning, ... READ MORE

Five popular shopping myths debunked

By Anne D’Innocenzio
Posted on May 15, 2011

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
Posted on May 01, 2011

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
Posted on May 01, 2011

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
Posted on April 25, 2011

“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
Posted on April 15, 2011

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