Reuters Money

Searching for yield? Think savings bonds

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Yields on certificates of deposit, Treasury bonds, and other interest-bearing securities have gotten so low that a mundane investment usually associated with birthdays and bar mitzvahs looks enticing by comparison.

But if you’re thinking of buying Series I savings bonds you might want to do it soon, since new regulations set to take effect next year will limit purchase amounts and make them harder for many people to buy.

Thanks to an uptick in prices for gas, food and other consumer goods, the bonds — which peg their yields to inflation — carry an annualized yield of 4.6 percent. By comparison, the average rate on a one-year CD is around .75 percent.

The variable rate, which applies to I-Bonds issued from May through October, consists of two blended components: a fixed rate that stays the same over the entire 30-year life of the bond and a rate pegged to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), which changes twice a year.

Want to put your kid on road to Millionaire Row by 21? Here’s how

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While some youngsters long to become rock stars or Hollywood heavyweights, others now gravitate towards another stripe of pop-cultural celebrity: the whiz kid who becomes a millionaire before age 21.

That’s not hard to fathom now, given the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and other tech hotshots. But for Susan Beacham — founder of Money Savvy Generation — steady strokes and ingrained habits set kids on the course to riches. And Beacham should know: She practices what she preaches with her two teenage daughters, Allison, 19, and Amanda, 17.

Gen”Why?”: Balancing your finances with boomerang kids

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Fred Amrein has three children in their early 20s: the youngest lives in college dorms, the middle lives at home and the oldest — soon to be married — recently moved out.

The “boomerang generation”– young adults who live at home with their parents — are increasingly turning to mom and dad for further financial support. But will caring for your adult children jeopardize your retirement security?

Financial independence day: 5 ways to get there

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No fireworks will explode if you can pull off financial independence, but it sure beats working for the man. How do you do it? Do you have to live like a monk? Give up chocolate? Move to a tent? Stop watching the Cartoon Network?

While it helps if you were an investment banker, CEO, professional athlete, movie star or inherited a ton of money, there are other ways to get there. Here are some favorite, little-heralded ways.

Is the American Dream dead?

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The American Dream lures people from all over the world, and it’s because of this possibility: If you come here and work hard, your kids will have a better life than you.

What if that weren’t true anymore?

Record debt, persistent joblessness, millions of underwater mortgages and a stock market that hasn’t gone anywhere in 10 years: For today’s kids who are entering the job market, it’s hardly a recipe for future success.

From books to homes: Swap your way to big savings

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Sometimes a gift is more like a curse. Self-described “cheap” booklover and avid library user Alyssa Lester wasn’t over the moon when she found a new ereader under the Christmas tree last year. “I love my Kindle, but didn’t want to buy one because I would have to start buying books and I don’t have a lot of extra money in my budget for that,” she says.

While searching online for ebook alternatives, Lester stumbled upon the recently-launched website eBookFling.com, which allows readers to lend Kindle and Nook ebooks for a free, two-week period, acting as a secondary media market for literary lovers.

Easter hunt: How to save cash as cocoa rises

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Chocolate easter bunnies are pictured at the Hauswirth confectioner factory in Kittsee, some 60 km (37 miles) east of Vienna, March 24, 2011.  REUTERS/Lisi Niesner Is the money you’ve socked away for Easter treats not stretching as far this year? You’ve likely experienced sticker shock as commodity prices continue to soar, sending the cost of that cavity-inducing chocolate bunny ever higher.

Cocoa futures continue on a wave of volatility thanks to political turmoil in Ivory Coast — the world’s top cocoa exporter. And research from the World Bank shows sugar prices are up 21 percent from last year. But, it’s not just the sweet stuff that’s affected. Instability in Africa and the Middle East has driven overall global food prices up 36 percent over last year, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Food Price Watch.

State tax increases: More are on the way

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A man holds a sign at a tax day rally by Tea Party activists in the New York City suburb of New City, New York, April 15, 2010.  REUTERS/Mike Segar  More taxes are coming, more taxes are coming! During the American Revolution, we could have substituted “more taxes” with “the British.”

We can’t blame old King George for our fiscal misery anymore. There are more taxes on the way as most states grapple with huge budget and pension deficits.

4 ways electricity monitors can trim your energy bills

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An employee shows a traditional light bulb (R) and two low-energy consumption bulbs at the Osram factory in Molsheim, eastern France December 11, 2008.  REUTERS/Vincent Kessler  People who are able to track their daily energy consumption cut their electric bills by 10 percent on average, according to a study done last year by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the U.S. Energy Department.

Catherine Cuellar, a 36-year-old who lives in a 1,200 square-foot loft in Dallas is a prime example of how this works. An employee of Oncor, a local power delivery company, she has been pilot-program tester for a “smart” utility meter that records her electricity consumption like any such meter, but also sends that information in real time to a receiver she keeps in her home.

Lights, Camera, Save! Money lessons for kids

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A piggy bank is seen in this file photo. REUTERS/Jill KitchenerIt is never too early to start teaching kids about the importance of saving money. But sometimes that process can be dull. So what about creating a money lesson that is fun and still inspires kids to save money rather than spend it?

The American Bankers Association (ABA) Education Foundation set out to do just that. The ABA launched a new initiative called Lights, Camera, Save! — a national video contest aimed at getting kids to think about creative ways to save money.