Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
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Dec 19, 2012

Stern Advice – Are first-time homebuyers missing the sweet spot?

WASHINGTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Despite reports to the
contrary, young adults haven’t given up on the American dream of
homeownership. They are just biding their time.

As many as 93 percent of millennial-generation renters plan
to buy a home someday, according to a recent (albeit
self-serving) poll by real estate website Trulia. Yet in today’s
housing market, characterized by still-subdued prices and record
low mortgage rates, only one in three homebuyers are first
timers.

Dec 17, 2012

How to help Newtown school shooting families

, Dec 17 (Reuters) – It’s easy, after an
earthquake or a hurricane, to show that you care. You can send
drywall and diapers, or at least money to buy them, and ease the
pain of fellow citizens in the path of destruction.

But when people are dealing with child-killing horror, as
they are following the Friday school shooting in Newtown,
Connecticut, it’s harder to help your neighbor. The houses of
the afflicted are still standing; they still have their jobs and
their infrastructure; it is their hearts that are broken.

Dec 12, 2012

How 2013 will test your portfolio

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – These are strange times to be moving your money around. Everyone is in “wait and see” mode while President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner talk, and investors have more questions than answers about the economy, interest rates, Europe, consumer behavior, corporate earnings and everything else that might rock their investment boats in the months to come.

Yet this is the time to position 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts and other investment portfolios for 2013.

Dec 12, 2012

Stern Advice-How 2013 will test your portfolio

By Linda Stern

WASHINGTON, Dec 12(Reuters) – These are strange times to be
moving your money around. Everyone is in “wait and see” mode
while President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner talk, and
investors have more questions than answers about the economy,
interest rates, Europe, consumer behavior, corporate earnings
and everything else that might rock their investment boats in
the months to come.

Yet this is the time to position 401(k)s, individual
retirement accounts and other investment portfolios for 2013.

Dec 5, 2012

Stern Advice – Retirees are doing better than you think

WASHINGTON, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Contrary to what you may have
heard, new retirees are doing better financially than previous
generations, according to research being published on Wednesday
by a mutual fund industry trade group.

“On average, more-recent generations of households have
higher levels of resources to draw on in retirement than
previous generations,” said the study by the Investment Company
Institute, a trade group. “Other measures also indicate
improvements in retiree well-being. For example, the poverty
rate among people aged 65 or older has declined from nearly 30
percent in 1966 to 9 percent in 2011.”

Nov 28, 2012

Is it too late to grab some special dividends?

NEW YORK, Nov 28 (Reuters) – With Wednesday’s announcement
that it will pay a special dividend of $7 per share, Costco
Wholesale Corp is the latest company to boost payouts
in an attempt to get ahead of any possible tax increases next
year.

In some cases, companies are simply advancing money that
might ordinarily have been paid to shareholders in 2013. In
other cases, like Costco’s, they are making extra dividend
payments.

Nov 28, 2012

Stern Advice: How much is $250,000?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – From where I sit, $250,000 a year – the amount President Barack Obama and other Democrats say is top-tier household income – is a substantial amount of money. But I don’t sit in Manhattan or Honolulu or San Francisco, where folks say they can easily blow through that much paying rent and childcare, and not living like kings.

Cost of living disparities are in focus now, and not just in the national tax debate. It’s a big deal for families from expensive places when they apply for college financial aid. People who make, say $60,000 a year in Fort Smith, Arkansas – one of the least expensive places in the country, according to Kiplinger.com – have significantly more disposable income than people trying to make it on $250,000 in Manhattan.

Nov 21, 2012

Please pass the gravy, and how much are you worth?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Don’t look now, but your parents may have at least $100,000 more than you think they have — you just haven’t asked and they haven’t told. That’s the key finding of a new survey from Fidelity Investments about how families talk (or, more often, don’t) about money.

Highlighting what it called a “vast disconnect,” the investment company said that parents and adult children have wildly different views on how well parents are prepared for retirement and whether or not the kids will step in and care for their elders if and when they become ill.

Nov 21, 2012

Stern Advice -Please pass the gravy, and how much are you worth?

WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Don’t look now, but your
parents may have at least $100,000 more than you think they have
– you just haven’t asked and they haven’t told. That’s the key
finding of a new survey from Fidelity Investments about how
families talk (or, more often, don’t) about money.

Highlighting what it called a “vast disconnect,” the
investment company said that parents and adult children have
wildly different views on how well parents are prepared for
retirement and whether or not the kids will step in and care for
their elders if and when they become ill.

Nov 14, 2012

After Sandy, do you still want a beach house?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The scenes rolling in from the New Jersey shore are devastating, and not just to the people whose homes were destroyed. Also damaged are the “retire with a water view” dreams of others who had aspired to vacation property and may have been thinking about beach real estate – until they saw what a storm like Sandy can do.

Disclosure here: Along with my husband, I own a small beach townhouse condominium on the Delaware shore. And because of Sandy, we had to cancel a weekend’s worth of concert tickets and family plans and instead head to the shore to make sure our place was still standing, and not full of water.

    • About Linda

      "Linda Stern is an award-winning personal finance journalist who loves to write about how the big picture affects your pocketbook. A former contributing editor at Newsweek magazine and a long-time Reuters columnist, Stern covers everything from credit cards to retirement planning to investing. As a Washington-based correspondent, she sneaks in as much tax and economic policy as her editors will allow. She tweets at www.twitter.com/LindaStern. And when she expresses opinions, they are her own and not those of her employer."
      Joined Reuters:
      October 2010
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