WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The morning after Hurricane Irene blew through their Tacoma Park, Maryland, neighborhood, homeowners Michael Desautels and Susan Hearn awoke to find a giant holly-leafed cherry tree nestled precariously in some broken tiles on their roof.
Hearn called State Farm, the company that holds their homeowners policy and boasts on its web site, “we’re here to help… Ready to respond to Hurricane Irene.”
WASHINGTON, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Standing knee-deep in your
wet basement is no time to find out that you’re not insured for
floods, but homeowners up and down the East Coast are
experiencing that double trouble right now.
The short, unhappy answer to most of their questions is “no,
you’re probably not covered for flood damage.” Homes located in
flood plains probably do have federal flood insurance; it’s
typically required by mortgage lenders. But the vast majority
of other homes are covered by private homeowners policies that
specifically exclude flood but cover wind, according to the
Insurance Information Institute.
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.
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.
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
“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?”
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)
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.