Investing to earn 4 to 8 percent or more

By Nellie S. Huang
Posted on August 29, 2013

To earn up to an 8-percent yield in a world where safe investments pay 1 percent or less requires accepting significant risk. But if you really want or need to boost return and are willing to take some risks to do so, read on.Many of today’s best bets for high yields — master limited partnerships (MLPs), mortgage-owning real estate investment trusts, and business development... READ MORE

Why you probably don’t need a living trust

By Sandra Block
Posted on August 29, 2013

Living trusts are typically marketed as a way to avoid the cost and hassles of probate — the legal process used to determine that a will is valid and to ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes.All too often, though, they’re sold to people who don’t need them, said Sally Hurme, a project adviser for AARP. An estate plan that includes a trust costs... READ MORE

Stocks may be less risky than you think

By Bernard Condon
Posted on August 29, 2013

Is it too late?If you’ve stayed out of stocks recently, you might be worried that you’ve missed your chance to get back in. After all, they must be expensive now that the Dow Jones industrial average has risen 120 percent in four years to a record high.The good news is that stocks still seem a good bet despite the run-up. The bad news: They’re no bargain, at least by some... READ MORE

Stable value funds help preserve capital

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on July 10, 2013

Long-term investors should not have a significant amount of money invested in Treasury bills, money market instruments or garden variety savings accounts. The reason is simple: These options return less than 1 percent per year, which means they don’t keep pace with inflation.Yet many people still park their money in these vehicles, simply for the sake of preserving their capital. They ... READ MORE

Will Social Security changes affect you?

By Jill Schlesinger
Posted on July 02, 2013

There’s nothing like proposed changes to Social Security limits to get readers of this column going. After President Obama released his fiscal 2014 budget, a number of you wrote in asking, “What will this mean to me?”Well, let’s start with a quick refresher on the current system. To qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, you need to have worked and paid... READ MORE

Startup helps DIY investors buy cheaply

By Mark Jewell
Posted on May 28, 2013

Think you can tell the difference between a fad and a trend with staying power? Look around, and you might come up with some decent investing ideas.If you’ve noticed that lots of your friends are using tablet computers instead of PCs, it might be a good time to consider stocks of companies driving the tablet revolution.See evidence that Americans are getting more serious about their... READ MORE

How to return (wisely) to the stock market

By Anne Kates Smith
Posted on May 22, 2013

How you re-enter the stock market matters, especially if you’ve taken a hiatus. Even if you’re anxious to get back in the game, you’ll want to buy into stocks gradually.Investing a set amount periodically, a strategy called dollar-cost averaging, helps you psych yourself into sticking to your investment plan. It lowers the average per-share cost of your stock holdings by... READ MORE

Small-cap foreign funds beat the market

By Mark Jewell
Posted on May 14, 2013

An annual scorecard of mutual fund performance is in, and it’s generating more of the negative headlines that fund managers have become accustomed to in recent years.The key finding: Two-thirds of managed U.S. stock funds failed to beat the market in 2012, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. For all their stock-picking skills, the vast majority of managers couldn’t claim an... READ MORE

A way to higher returns at moderate risk

By Beacon
Posted on May 01, 2013

Readers continue to ask how they can invest without a great deal of risk and still obtain reasonable income.I have often pointed out that investors who need income cannot expect high income from investing in Treasury bills, money-market instruments and short-term savings accounts. Such investments preserve capital but do not keep up with inflation.Alternatives that provide more income... READ MORE

Changes coming in estate and gift taxes

By Dave Carpenter
Posted on December 17, 2012

Taxes that are largely a concern of the very rich will soon affect far more people unless Congress steps in.The impending drastic changes in the estate and gift tax laws are prompting a flurry of activity as 2013 draws near. Family members are making financial gifts, creating trusts and considering other tax-minded moves.Financial advisers, and trust and estate attorneys have been flooded... READ MORE