Now’s a good time to review your portfolio

By: Mark Jewell

Mutual funds have been put to the test.Over the last three years investors saw their balances nose-dive, then edge back toward prior heights. But few investors have fully recovered.On the bright side, all that drama should make it relatively easy to perform an annual portfolio checkup, to decide which funds to keep and which to cast out.How a fund performed through meltdown and recovery are ... READ MORE

Convertible securities offer smoother ride

By: Steven T. Goldberg

If I were a betting man, I’d wager that 2011 turns out to be a better year for stocks than for bonds. With the extension of the Bush tax cuts and the clear resolve of the Federal Reserve to spur economic growth, I think that the stock market will do well for the remainder of this year — albeit with its customary stomach-churning dips.By the same token, economic growth,... READ MORE

Online checking accounts offer benefits

By: Candice Choi

You may never have to wait in line at a bank again.Now that most routine transactions can be handled online or at ATMs, you may be weighing whether it’s worth making the leap to an exclusively online checking account.Besides the convenience of never having to go to the bank, these accounts typically bear interest or come with other perks. There are, of course, trade-offs to be wary of ... READ MORE

What fund ratings do and don’t tell you

By: Mark Jewell

As a mutual fund investor, you don’t want to pay “the stupid penalty.”That’s what Russel Kinnel calls the difference between the best and worst funds. It’s a penalty that he’s studied closely as director of mutual fund research at Morningstar.Consider Morningstar’s analysis of the best and worst large-cap mutual funds over a 10-year stretch ending... READ MORE

Retirees looking to become entrepreneurs

By: Mark Miller

One of the Steve Jobs stories circulating in the wake of the legendary Apple founder’s death is the line he used to convince PepsiCo’s John Sculley to join Apple Computer: “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or come with me and change the world?”Jobs embodied the spirit of creative entrepreneurship — and the Apple story began when he was ... READ MORE

Some new funds and trends to consider

By: Mark Jewell

With nearly 8,000 mutual funds on the market, there are already plenty to choose from. Yet in a typical year a few hundred new offerings pop up.Don’t write off all these freshman funds. It’s likely a select group will prove their mettle through good markets and bad, including a handful of recent offerings from managers with strong track records.Yet too many try to tap into... READ MORE