Chris's Feed
Jul 27, 2012

See you in 2 wks: When couples take separate vacations

NEW YORK, July 27 (Reuters) – This summer, I decided to take
a couple of weeks for a much-needed getaway in southern
California. I lounged by the Manhattan Beach pier, spent some
quality time with my parents and sister, and brought my two boys
to the wallet-destroyer known as Disneyland.

My wife stayed home.

As I write this, she’s in Haiti, visiting her hometown in
the country’s west. She’s eating local dishes like diri ak
djon-djon (rice with black mushrooms), getting all the village
gossip from her father, and getting respite from the summer heat
in the river that snakes down from the mountains.

Jul 20, 2012

The real costs of houseguests

NEW YORK, July 20 (Reuters) – When Peg Eddy decided to host
some old friends from Thailand at her San Diego home, she
thought it was going to be a few days of fun and reminiscing.
She didn’t realize it was going to break the bank.

First, there was the shopping. She and her husband
chauffeured their four guests to stores all over southern
California, racking up 1,100 miles in the process. In fact, her
guests loaded up with so many shopping bags every day that Eddy
had to rent a car with a bigger trunk.

Jul 18, 2012

Corrected: Generation Yikes: Why young savers are avoiding stocks

(Corrects to remove final two paragraphs because of questions about the source’s reliability)

By Chris Taylor

(Reuters) – Ask any money manager about people who don’t invest in stocks, and the answer is probably a little condescending. They just don’t understand the market; they’re not thinking about the long-term; they’re unsophisticated, preferring to stick their money under a mattress.

Jul 18, 2012

Generation Yikes: Why young savers are avoiding stocks

By Chris Taylor

(Reuters) – Ask any money manager about people who don’t invest in stocks, and the answer is probably a little condescending. They just don’t understand the market; they’re not thinking about the long-term; they’re unsophisticated, preferring to stick their money under a mattress.

But Diane Casaretti is no rube. She’s a successful marketing rep in Stamford, Connecticut, and in her career has worked with many Wall Street banks and brokerage houses. But she’s made a conscious, rational decision: Stocks just aren’t for her.

Jul 10, 2012

Note to investment advisers: women are your future

NEW YORK, July 10 (Reuters) – When Rachel Smith met with her
first financial adviser, he talked to her like she was five
years old.

“Whenever I had questions, he would just say, ‘Forget that
and listen to me,’” says Smith, a 35-year-old New York real
estate agent. “He was an older guy who was very condescending,
and saw me as a young, inexperienced woman who didn’t know
anything.”

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.”

    • 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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