Vegas Seven

Finance

  • Personal Finance

    Gold buyers and sellers should beware of shady dealers

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    Howard Wolfe watched gold prices soar for several years before he finally decided to jump. Last year, the Mississippi retiree answered an advertisement for a company selling gold bullion. He wired $20,000 when the metal was retailing for $1,100. As of last week, gold was selling for more than $1,300. But Wolfe was not celebrating. The gold he bought was never delivered, and he can’t get the company to answer his calls.

  • Personal Finance

    More tools now available to shop for medical procedures

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    In bygone days, when more workers had comprehensive health-care insurance, the price of medical procedures was not much of an issue. But now, with many people having to make do with high-deductible plans—if they have insurance at all—price becomes a huge consideration. “We are seeing more and more of this, and it’s only going to grow over time,” said Martin Rosen, executive vice president and co-founder of the Health Advocate, a Philadelphia consulting firm.

  • The National Newsroom

    Low-cost dates can be fun, generous and classy

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    The date that turned John Owens’ girlfriend into his wife didn’t cost much. He filled a cooler full of beer and sandwiches and took her on a night fishing trip with another couple. “It was a great night, and it cost me a couple of bucks for bait and that was it,” said Owens, now head of marketing for ING Direct USA in Wilmington, Del.

  • Personal Finance

    More consumer protections on bank overdrafts may be coming

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    Last month, Federal Reserve rules went into effect that barred banks from automatically charging existing account holders overdraft fees on ATM and debit-card transactions. But more consumer protections concerning overdrafts could be on the way.

  • Personal Finance

    New FTC rules for debt-settlement firms could protect you

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    The advertisements for debt settlement are nearly irresistible to the overextended. They make the process sound almost painless; some even promise that government programs will stomp down debts.

  • Personal Finance

    Special savings accounts can help break cycle of poverty

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    Dametria Williams started her financial life as a statistic—a poor single mom, just like her mother and grandmother before her. But the San Francisco health-care worker decided to break the cycle of poverty. Now the 38-year-old is a college graduate on the cusp of opening her own business. She is also raising a high-achieving teenager who is in position to win merit-based college scholarships. She attributes her life’s 180-degree turn to two things: a new attitude and a savings account with matching funds provided to low-income participants.

  • The National Newsroom

    Keep the right bonds in your portfolio

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    Investors, made nervous by two years of roller-coaster performance in the stock market, have been pouring money into bond funds over the last year, seeking a haven for their assets. But if interest rates start to rise next year—as most expect they will—these mutual funds that hold bonds may not look quite as profitable, experts say.

  • Personal Finance

    Fiduciary provision may be most important part of financial reform bill

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    Financial professionals are waging a heated battle over a little-noticed part of the financial reform bill moving through Congress that’s all about one word: trust. For individual investors who pay professionals to help them invest or plan for retirement, it may be the most important piece of the legislation.

  • The National Newsroom

    A strategy for charitable giving makes donations go further

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    Do you have a charitable giving plan? President Obama placed a spotlight on charity when he published his tax return information recently, showing a vast array of causes supported by the First Family. While that strategy may be wise for the Obamas, who have the means to donate generously and can use their high-profile giving to highlight the many causes that need money, it’s not a good approach for most ordinary folks, experts say.

  • Personal Finance

    These financial blogs are worth your time

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    After spending the bulk of my career writing solely for newspapers, I stepped into the blogosphere a year ago and discovered a whole new world of financial advice. The World Wide Web is host to hundreds of financial bloggers, who provide everything from solid counsel to something of a support group for the budget-challenged.

  • Personal Finance

    Fees can take a big bite out of retirement fund contributions

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    Making an annual contribution to a retirement plan? A recent study could give you pause. It says that more than half of the average person’s Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contribution is being eaten away in fees. “People need to understand that fees are lethal,” says Mitch Tuchman, chief executive of a self-help portfolio management website called MarketRiders, which conducted the study of fees. “They are a hidden tax that people have no idea they’re paying.”

  • Personal Finance

    Keeping adult children on your insurance policy

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    With college graduation around the corner, parents are peppering their insurers with questions about how the new health-care reform law will affect their adult children. The law has two provisions of particular interest to parents. One bars insurers from refusing to cover children under age 19 because of pre-existing medical conditions. Another allows parents to keep their kids on their family plan even after a child graduates from college.

  • Personal Finance

    Old-fashioned investing advice still applies

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    There aren’t a lot of investment experts who will tell you what they said 10 years ago and just how much of it turned out to be right. But John C. Bogle isn’t your average investment expert.

  • Personal Finance

    Banking laws leave business customers vulnerable to Internet fraud

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    Many tax advisors tell their self-employed clients—including those who are “consulting” while looking for work—to open separate business bank accounts to make it easier to separate business and personal expenses for tax purposes. Don’t do it. This common tax advice could turn into a banking nightmare that puts every dollar in your business account at risk. Just ask Fan Bao of Los Angeles.

  • Personal Finance

    Identity theft may be prelude to more serious crime

    By Kathy Kristof, Tribune Media Services

    Identity theft may be the financial world’s equivalent of a staph infection. Just when you thought you had a handle on protecting your identity from criminals, the crime has morphed into something new and far more toxic. It has become relatively easy to find and combat traditional identity theft, which involves a stranger snatching your Social Security number and other identifying information to apply for credit in your name.

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