Five contrarian reasons not to refinance

June 15, 2012

CHICAGO, June 15 (Reuters) – These days, lenders are
incredibly picky when it comes to customers. When I looked into
refinancing a few months ago, a mortgage broker asked for two
years of tax filings, and wanted my accountant to certify them.
Since the savings on a new loan would’ve been minor, I passed.

Drill for income with energy stocks

June 8, 2012

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Whenever the threat of an economic slowdown starts hulking around like a cranky bear, I look to essentials that are important to me as a long-term investor, like energy. Then I consider what investors need most while they watch share prices dip, and that is steady dividends.

Staples and discretionary stocks, it’s that easy

June 4, 2012

CHICAGO, June 4 (Reuters) – To maintain your mettle as an
investor in the face of mixed economic signals, you have to be
able to be able to do what F. Scott Fitzgerald said was the test
of first-rate intelligence: be able to hold two opposing ideas
in your mind and still function.

Where in the world are dividends good?

June 1, 2012

CHICAGO, June 1 (Reuters) – Finding consistent total stock
returns has always been a challenge. But even as the euro zone
beast continues to flair its nostrils and U.S. employment
wheezes, there are stocks that are worthy contenders,
particularly ones that pay dividends. While they don’t eliminate
market risk, dividends can bolster total return in skittish
equity markets. And some of the best sectors for high-dividend
players are far from Wall Street.

Four new ways to curb your market enthusiasm

May 29, 2012

CHICAGO (Reuters) – It’s already shaping up to be a summer of discontent for investors, so it’s time to manage your expectations. To a global investor, there are conflicting signals everywhere: Although the U.S. economy continues to chug along like a tugboat, the “fiscal cliff” of massive tax increases and budget cuts still looms at the end of the year. Then there is the euro zone opera with the fat lady singing in Greece, Spain and elsewhere.

College investing the low-risk way

May 25, 2012

CHICAGO, May 25 (Reuters) – Despite saving for the past
decade and a half, I know I’m nowhere near covering projected
college bills for my daughters, who are now teenagers. So I’ve
been employing an investment strategy to try to make up the
difference so that tuition doesn’t sink my kids into a loathsome
amount of debt.

What if Europe and U.S. decouple?

May 21, 2012

CHICAGO, May 21 (Reuters) – What if, despite conventional
wisdom, the United States and Eurozone economies “decoupled?”
This suggests that no matter what happens in Greece, Spain and
the rest of the beleaguered European nations, the U.S. economy
wouldn’t be linked to those woes and would continue its mild
recovery relatively unimpaired.

Bet on U.S. manufacturing for a rebound

May 18, 2012

CHICAGO (Reuters) – If you were betting on a big rebound for any one sector this year, you probably would have put your money on banking instead of manufacturing.

Professional tricks to lower property tax assessment

May 14, 2012

CHICAGO, May 14 (Reuters) – One of the best investments I
made in my home this year was to hire somebody to prove that its
value had fallen.

Facebook IPO meets behavioral economics

May 11, 2012

CHICAGO, May 11 (Reuters) – You may be smitten with the
Facebook story and debating whether or not to buy stock
when the company goes public. But if you haven’t studied the
history of IPOs, you may be jumping into the purchase with
unrealistic expectations and flawed biases.