Big returns from fast food in slow market

By: Mark Jewell
Posted on: December 26, 2011

Step into the McDonald’s in Port Chester, N.Y. on a Saturday, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Jon Burnham dining on the cheap with his wife. They’re McDonald’s regulars.“Where else can two people go and have a really nice lunch or dinner for $10?” Burnham asked.He knows how to spot a value, after more than five decades in the financial services ... READ MORE

Five big money mistakes retirees make

By: David Pitt
Posted on: December 26, 2011

For retirees to maintain their desired lifestyle without a paycheck — possibly for decades — they need a solid financial plan. They also need to steer clear of serious mistakes that could compromise their future income.Here’s a look at some common pitfalls retirees encounter, and ways to step around them to avoid financial disaster.1. Helping children too muchProblem:... READ MORE

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 ( 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