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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.

Jul 26, 2011

Analysis: Advisers say time is right for high-yield stocks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Prompted by a host of financial and economic developments, a growing number of investment advisers are steering their clients toward dividend-paying stocks.

“We are resolute in our belief that large, high-quality, dividend-paying companies, many of which are hiding in plain sight, offer a compelling investment option for growth and income,” Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott, wrote in his latest memo to investors.

Jul 20, 2011

Stern Advice: Is it 1999 all over again for tech stocks?

WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) – I wasn’t one of those
people who lost a bunch of money when dot-com stocks blew up in
2000, but to be honest, that’s because I didn’t make a lot of
money in the bubblicious run up, either.

I still remember naively waiting for new companies like
Amazon, AOL and Pets.com (remember that one?) to show a profit
before jumping in.

Jul 19, 2011
via Reuters Money

Consumers buy the wrong credit scores, new agency warns

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At least some of the millions and millions of dollars that consumers shell out to buy their credit scores could be misspent, and possibly even damaging, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggested in a report released today.

Consumers spend more than $1 billion a year buying credit reports and credit scores from credit rating agencies or other online scoring sites, the study said.

Jul 14, 2011
via Reuters Money

Financial disclosures can make advice worse: Yale study

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Washington watchers are sure to see a lot of one particular word in the months to come: disclosure.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is preparing a fiduciary standard for brokers that is expected to require them to disclose their financial conflicts. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau plans to launch next week with a plan for new mortgage term disclosure forms. And Elizabeth Warren, the president’s adviser who set up that agency, has given speech after speech in which she discusses the virtues of requiring clear disclosures as a mode of financial regulation.

    • 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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