Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
Linda's Feed
Aug 26, 2011
via Reuters Money

Hurricane investing: You don’t need a weathervane …

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Maybe you’ve already got your lawn furniture stashed in the garage, your water jugs filled and your important papers protected. But have you gotten your investment portfolio ready for Hurricane Irene, currently threatening all the East Coast hot spots?

Three main themes emerge: Selling into the storm; ditching shares facing the most risks and buying into the rebuilding effort. Here are some considerations.

Aug 24, 2011

Stern Advice: Where to put your money now

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – You’ve got to put your money somewhere, right? Under the mattress doesn’t really work as a retirement program. It’s lumpy, vulnerable to theft and your kids might find it.

But stocks are scary, bond yields are horrible, gold is already stratospherically priced (and selling off as I write this) and real estate? Even President Obama has been predicting further declines in housing prices.

Aug 22, 2011

One adviser isn’t enough, say investors

WASHINGTON, Aug 19 (Reuters) – When the going gets tough,
the tough find more financial advisers. That seems to be the
message of the last few years, as rocky markets and investment
scandals have sent investors into the arms of more than one
professional.

“Over the past three years, the number of advisory
relationships maintained by investors has increased
continually,” wrote research firm Cerulli Associates in an
article titled “Are Clients Two-Timing Advisors?”

Aug 18, 2011

Employees beware: Higher healthcare costs ahead

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Large employers expect big increases in healthcare costs in 2012, and say they’ll pass more and more of those costs on to their workers. That’s the result of a new survey by the National Business Group on Health, a trade group for these large companies.

“It’s a huge burden on businesses and employers,” says Helen Darling, the group’s president. “Healthcare costs continue to gallop along at over seven percent.” Members say they expect their 2012 costs to be 7.2 percent above their 2011 costs, which are trending 7.4 percent above 2010 costs. (Separately, Standard & Poor’s reported more modest increases in actual healthcare costs. The average per capita cost of healthcare services covered by commercial insurance and Medicare programs increased by 5.61 percent over the 12 months ending in June 2011. Click here to see the study: link.reuters.com/mup33s)

Aug 17, 2011

Stern Advice: Once in a lifetime gifting opportunities

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Tax advisers are telling well-heeled clients the time is ripe for giving away big bucks to the kids. The convergence of a relatively high $5 million federal lifetime exclusion from gift taxes, a zero percent rate on some capital gains, and depressed prices of real estate and stocks mean that families considering estate planning can make some real headway.

“You literally have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transfer wealth and grow it for a long, long time without any gift or estate taxes being paid on the amounts being transferred,” said Scott Ditman, a partner with New York accounting firm Berdon LLP. “The savings for the family could be unbelievable.”

Aug 17, 2011

Wealth Manager: Not too early for tax selling

NEW YORK, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Sometimes, it makes sense for
the tail to wag the dog. That’s what experts call it – often
with derision – when investors let tax considerations drive
their investment decisions. Theoretically, you’re only supposed
to make investment moves based on your investment goals.

But still, if you’ve been in the market for the last two
weeks, there’s a good chance you have some sizable losses and
gains. With some strategic selling and buying, you can lock in
a tax break that will make you happy next April.

Aug 15, 2011
via Reuters Money

Taxes: Time to lock in losses — and gains

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Sometimes, it makes sense for the tail to wag the dog. That’s what experts call it — often with derision — when investors let tax considerations drive their investment decisions. Theoretically, you’re only supposed to make investment moves based on your investment goals.

But still, if you’ve been in the market for the last two weeks, there’s a good chance you have some sizable losses and gains. With some strategic selling and buying, you can lock in a tax break that will make you happy next April.

Aug 3, 2011

Stern Advice: Last-minute ways to find cash for college

WASHINGTON, Aug 3 (Reuters) – It’s the time of year when
new college students start buying notebooks, but after paying
the year’s tuition bills, notebooks could suddenly become
unaffordable.

Parents are scrambling, as average private-school tuition
tops $21,000, and many schools top $40,000, according to
Department of Education figures. Those figures do not even
include room and board, pizzas, iPads, colorful bedding or
spring break trips.

Aug 2, 2011

Analysis: After the debt deal: 5 money moves to make now

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Now what? If you’re confused by the debt deal and what it means for your own wallet, you’re not alone.

The fine print in the deal raises more questions than it answers. Almost all discretionary federal spending will face some cuts over the next 10 years, with defense spending taking a comparatively heavy hit. The bill calls for $917 billion in initial cuts over 10 years, with roughly $350 billion of that in defense and security spending.

Aug 1, 2011

U.S. Congress debt deal may hit some student borrowers

WASHINGTON, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Some student loan subsidies
may take a hit in the big debt deal working its way towards a
vote in the U.S. Congress on Monday.

The White House and congressional leaders scrambled for
enough support from skeptical lawmakers on Monday to push
through an 11th-hour deal to cut the fiscal deficit and raise
the U.S. borrowing limit to avert a debt default.

    • 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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