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Nov 27, 2012

Marriage and money: bridging the interracial divide

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Walk into any American conversation, and there are two volatile issues that could make it explode at any moment: Race, and money.

Combine the two, and spontaneous combustion is guaranteed.

Which is why no one ever talks about it. But given the rapidly rising number of interracial marriages in this country, perhaps it is time to discuss how coming from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds can sometimes lead to disparate attitudes toward money and security.

Nov 19, 2012

Charitable parents raise charitable kids

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Not long after the megastorm Sandy hit the northeast United States, Maryum Goodwin and her little girl Ryleigh, 6, saw a disturbing picture of the New Jersey shore devastation.

“That’s somebody’s house?” Ryleigh asked.

“It used to be,” said Maryum, a stay-at-home mother from Kennesaw, Georgia.

Nov 14, 2012

LGBT community has money but needs advice

NEW YORK (Reuters) – How well do financial planning firms respond to the needs of the LGBT community? The report card just came in. They flunked.

Financial giant Prudential Financial Inc today released an online survey of more than 1,400 Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. For institutions hoping to tap into this lucrative market, the numbers are a serious wake-up call.

Oct 27, 2012

Disaster-proofed homeowners aren’t sweating Sandy

NEW YORK, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Hurricane Sandy is charging up
the East Coast as a cold front is tearing across the U.S. from
the west and an arctic blast is barreling down from the north.
The resulting “Frankenstorm” could cause gale-force winds, heavy
rains and flooding – along with billions in damages along the
Eastern Seaboard.

Valerie Dziengiel isn’t worried one bit.

That’s because Dziengiel, for the last 11 years, has lived
in “survivalist luxury” in the Connecticut woods with her
husband, Walter, a homebuilder. They have a flood-proof
basement, backup power systems and freezers full of food. The
worst thing that might happen as Sandy rampages: They’d lose
their cable television.

Oct 19, 2012

Double the trouble when divorced parents get old

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Devin Pope never expected to find himself shuttling between his mother’s and father’s homes, caring for his aging parents separately.

Sure, the 33-year-old financial planner from Salt Lake City always knew his parents were going to get older. And he realized there would probably be health problems along the way, like when a stroke in 2001 left his dad partially paralyzed and without much of a short-term memory.

Oct 13, 2012

Five issues that could derail your refinancing

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The TV and radio ads make it all seem so easy. Walk into a lender’s office, refinance your home loan at a rock-bottom rate, and walk out with a lower monthly payment.

Here’s a little tip: It’s not so easy.

If you know the pitfalls, you can at least prepare for them – and perhaps chart a wiser course. A few issues that could have your application earmarked for the ‘Rejected’ pile:

Oct 13, 2012

Welcome to Hell: The joys of refinancing

NEW YORK (Reuters) – For Scott Laperruque, every day is Groundhog Day.

That’s because the commercial photographer from Short Hills, New Jersey is refinancing his house for a rate of 4 percent. Trying to, anyway. And every time he wakes up, just like Bill Murray in that classic film, he discovers he’s living the same day all over again.

“The bank will ask for one document, and a week will go by,” says Laperruque, 55, who now pays 5.75 percent and would save almost $400 a month if his refinancing would close. But the bank keeps asking for more, and more, and then because they have to have everything within a 30-day period, they have to re-ask for things like payroll stubs.

Oct 13, 2012

Five issues that could derail your refi

By Chris Taylor

NEW YORK, Oct 13(Reuters) – The TV and radio ads make it all
seem so easy. Walk into a lender’s office, refinance your home
loan at a rock-bottom rate, and walk out with a lower monthly
payment.

Here’s a little tip: It’s not so easy.

If you know the pitfalls, you can at least prepare for them
- and perhaps chart a wiser course. A few issues that could have
your application earmarked for the ‘Rejected’ pile:

Oct 10, 2012

Is your boss watching your cholesterol?

NEW YORK (Reuters) – If you’re an employee who’s looking to save money or make more of it, here’s a little advice: Step away from the cigarettes and chocolate éclairs. They might cost you – and not just in your lungs or on your hips.

That’s because more companies than ever are attaching financial rewards and penalties to their employees’ health. Do a wellness screening, get $50. Stop smoking, enjoy lower insurance premiums. Hit a weight or cholesterol target, get a contribution to your health savings account.

Sep 11, 2012

Me and My Money: Jack Bogle

NEW YORK (Reuters) – For a guy who helped create the modern investment-management industry as the founder of Vanguard Group, John “Jack” Bogle has an interesting relationship with money: He hates to use it.

Bogle doesn’t care for the fancy things people often buy, and he sure doesn’t like how it has corrupted the financial system. He thinks that everyone should save for the future, of course, but he can’t stand to spend on himself. He is happiest when he is at the family getaway in the Adirondacks with his wife, six kids and 12 grandchildren.

    • 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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