Chris's Feed
Jun 29, 2012

Community college students pay price of popularity

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Heidi Johnston dreams of being a speech pathologist. But ironically the 25-year-old, who graduated with a degree in communication sciences and disorders, has become a Ph.D.-level savant at something else entirely: Figuring out the increasingly complex puzzle of community colleges.

She first started out at a little community college not far from her home in Spring Grove, Illinois, in 2004. Her goal: Pursue her studies there for a few years while working part-time, transfer to a four-year institution to complete her degree, and save a bundle in the process.

Jun 22, 2012

Managing the costs of ADHD

NEW YORK (Reuters) – By high school, Chris Davis knew his mind worked a little differently from those of other kids. He couldn’t maintain focus on longer projects, keep quiet or still, and kept losing things. Then came the diagnosis: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD.

In one sense, the news was a godsend: It allowed his family to chart a successful path forward, to the point where Davis, 42, is now director of retirement services for a Connecticut wealth management firm.

Jun 8, 2012

Get ahead of the coming gift-tax-apalooza

NEW YORK (Reuters) – If you’re a wealthy American who’s planning to hire an estate or trust attorney later this year, here’s a thought: Good luck. You’re going to need it.

That’s because the transit of Venus of estate planning is passing through, and by the New Year it is likely to be gone. It’s the lifetime gift-tax exemption of $5.12 million, paired with a similar estate-tax exemption. And it means that through the rest of this year, parents can pass along assets valued up to that amount to their heirs – maybe a house, maybe a stock portfolio, maybe part of the family business – without paying a single penny to Uncle Sam.

Jun 6, 2012

How couples sabotage their finances

NEW YORK (Reuters) – With a wedding coming up, you’d think Jay Buerck would be obsessing about the usual details: Writing vows, choosing appetizers, or figuring out seating charts to accommodate challenging relatives.

But what worries the 29-year-old St. Louis marketing professional isn’t any of those things: It’s money.

May 31, 2012

Kids, sports, and the busted family budget

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jodi Furman likes to joke that she should paint her minivan yellow. That’s because she basically turns into a taxi driver in the afternoons and on weekends, as she delivers her three children to various sports practices in Palm Beach, Florida. But the bill for all those sports is no laughing matter.

“There are costs for joining teams, for buying equipment, for arranging private lessons, for travel,” says Furman, a 38-year-old personal-finance blogger at www.livefabuLESS.com. “It can really add up; I know families who spend over $10,000 a year on sports for their kids. Parents need to go into it with their eyes – and wallets – open.”

May 25, 2012

Seven new ways to land that summer job

NEW YORK (Reuters) – While most kids are zoning out to Nickelodeon or playing video games on their parents’ iPhones, 13-year-old Jack James is busy creating multiple revenue streams for himself.

Back when he was nine, James got the idea to do the dirty work of taking his neighbors’ trash cans out for pickup, for a monthly subscription of $5. (He has since raised his rate to $10.) That work led to other gigs, like pet care and picking up mail when clients are away.

May 15, 2012

Parents just say no to college tuition

NEW YORK, May 15 (Reuters) – Tracy Repchuk’s three children
are still in grade school, but she’s already got college funding
figured out. The Repchuk kids are 14, 15, and 16 and when they
head off to college in a few years, here’s how much their
parents will be chipping in: Zero.

Not because they are being punished for something: Tracy
calls all three wonderful, outgoing and well-adjusted. And not
because the family is strapped for cash: Tracy, 47, is an author
and social media strategist, and her husband David Repchuk is a
mobile solutions developer.

May 4, 2012

REITs on a roll, but what’s next?

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Talk to any American homeowner, and you’ll probably encounter some symptoms of chronic anxiety. Underwater mortgages, tanking house values and rampant foreclosures have shaken our psyches regarding the wisdom of property ownership.

But when it comes to real estate investment trusts (REITs) that invest in commercial property, they’ve been doing quite nicely, thank you very much. In fact if you invested in Vanguard’s REIT Index ETF during the lows of March 2009, you would have tripled your money since.

May 4, 2012

YOUR MONEY: REITs on a roll, but what’s next?

NEW YORK, May 4 (Reuters) – Talk to any American homeowner,
and you’ll probably encounter some symptoms of chronic anxiety.
Underwater mortgages, tanking house values and rampant
foreclosures have shaken our psyches regarding the wisdom of
property ownership.

But when it comes to real estate investment trusts (REITs)
that invest in commercial property, they’ve been doing quite
nicely, thank you very much. In fact if you invested in
Vanguard’s REIT Index ETF during the lows of March 2009,
you would have tripled your money since.

May 3, 2012

You’ve been offered shares. Now what?

NEW YORK, May 3 (Reuters) – Whenever Manhattan attorney Ted
Scofield gets offered equity in a start-up, he feels like he’s
been thrown into the middle of a high-stakes Las Vegas poker
game.

If he bets right, he could hit a flush and become richer
than he ever dreamed. If he bets wrong, he could end up with
nothing.

    • About Chris

      "Chris Taylor is an award-winning freelance writer in New York City. A former senior writer with SmartMoney, the Wall Street Journal's personal-finance magazine, he has been published in the Financial Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, CNBC.com, Fortune, Money, and more. He has won journalism awards from the National Press Club, the Deadline Club, and the National Association of Real Estate Editors. The opinions expressed are his own."
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