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Apr 30, 2013

If (Going to) Weddings costs too much: Meet the refuseniks

NEW YORK (Reuters) – If you were thinking of inviting Marissa Anwar to your wedding, you might want to save the postage. She is not interested.

Nothing personal. It is just that the 29-year-old operations consultant from Waterloo, Ontario, is tapped out. Last year she attended six weddings — some of which actually had two ceremonies, because of different faiths involved — and was a bridesmaid three separate times.

Apr 18, 2013

The new rules of house flipping

NEW YORK, April 18 (Reuters) – When the housing market went
bust, house flippers went into hibernation. Now, as the recovery
creeps along, bargain-hunters are once again looking for homes
to fix up and resell for a quick profit.

Just take a look at the numbers. Home values are on the
rise, with a year-over-year price increase of 11.6 percent,
according to the National Association of Realtors. Inventory has
cratered to levels not seen since 2005.

Apr 11, 2013

U.S. insider stock sales send up red flag for investors

NEW YORK, April 11 (Reuters) – With the Dow hitting so many
fresh highs of late, some investors may be dusting off the 1999
bestseller “Dow 36,000,” a book that briefly made “irrational
exuberance” seem quite rational.

Even Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve Board
chairman who coined that description of market sentiment before
the dot-com bust, has mused publicly that stocks are

Mar 15, 2013

Four stocks for the next three decades

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Time for a pop quiz: If you had to pick one stock to buy and hold for the next 30 years, what would it be?

Okay, pencils down. Not so easy, is it? After all, when you are thinking about 2043, you are not just evaluating metrics such as current price-earnings ratios or 52-week trading ranges. You have to ponder whether a company is even going to exist in three decades’ time.

Mar 14, 2013

How to win your office March Madness pool

NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) – Need more people for your
office March Madness pool? Call Brad Carlin, he is looking to
enter one.

On second thought, don’t call him.

That’s because in his former NCAA basketball tournament
pool, the professor of biostatistics at the University of
Minnesota crushed his opponents three times in five years.
Carlin was so successful, in fact, that organizers shut down the
pool entirely.

Feb 19, 2013

Boomers face credit-card quandary as economic doldrums bite

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sandy Harsh never expected to find herself with $16,800 in credit-card debt and her retirement dreams drifting farther away.

Harsh, an IT professional from Tuscola, Illinois, is 62, around the age at which a lot of people start actively planning to retire to a white-sandy beach with a frozen margarita in hand.

Feb 8, 2013

The U.S. pet economy didn’t go to the dogs

NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) – It is almost time for Alvin’s
massage. After a rubdown, he is off for a personal grooming
session, to make sure he looks his best. Alvin is from Thailand
originally but recently has been hanging out in California, and
this weekend is jetting off to a hotel in New York City.

Alvin is a beagle.

Not just any beagle. Alvin is a champion of his breed, the
recipient of three Best in Show ribbons at dog shows around the
United States. His handler hopes he will compete for the overall
crown at New York City’s famed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show,
starting this Monday. But being a champion doesn’t come cheap.

Jan 31, 2013

Sibling rivalry: The Super Bowl of family finances

NEW YORK, Jan 31 (Reuters) – You might think that Sunday’s
Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and the San
Francisco 49ers, which pits brothers John and Jim Harbaugh
against one another as coaches, is all about the game.

But what happens on the field might be just the tip of the
iceberg for sibling rivalry. What about deep-seated issues like
who makes more money? Or who does mom really love best?

Jan 25, 2013

Friends and fundraising: How to tap social networks

NEW YORK, Jan 25 (Reuters) – When Doug Haslam gets on his
bike, it’s for personal as well as philanthropic reasons.

Of course, the 44-year-old social media consultant from
Newton, Massachusetts, derives intrinsic joy from riding his
Specialized Allez Sport.

Jan 18, 2013

Traveling for healthcare, but not that far

NEW YORK (Reuters) – For Jim Kucera, the pain was just getting worse. The salesman from New Hope, Minnesota, needed a hip replacement urgently, but the cost of treatment would also be painful: Lacking health insurance, he would have to pay out of pocket.

At first, Kucera looked abroad at countries like Israel and India, where he figured he could get the procedure done for about $30,000, a bargain compared with the $50,000 or more that American hospitals would likely charge.

    • 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,, 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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