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Mar 23,2009
It's no secret that Americans are in credit card debt up to their eyeballs. To what can we attribute this colossal "living beyond our means" phenomenon? I don't think it's because we've had too many emergencies, and that's why we all have credit cards, right? It's because we don't ever want to feel poor. Let me define the term "feeling poor." It's a sad, sorry feeling of inferiority. It's that feeling you get when faced ... [full story]
1230 times read - No comment posted

Mar 23,2009
Dear Mary: I received an invitation from Capital One to transfer balances to a new credit card at zero percent interest until March 2010. Would I be shooting myself in the foot if I accepted this offer and transferred two high-interest balances, currently $4,000 total? I'm worried this is a trap. -- Monica, Tennessee Dear Monica: There are many things you need to consider carefully before making your decision. --Bait and switch. If you read ... [full story]
1454 times read - No comment posted

Mar 05,2009
Q: I recently read a newspaper story that said two of the six children the single mom in California already had before she gave birth to the octuplets are getting Social Security disability benefits. Are our elected leaders out to lunch? No wonder the system is going broke if our Social Security tax dollars are supporting children whose only disability seems to be that they have a mother who has a history of making bad ... [full story]
2357 times read - No comment posted

Mar 05,2009
Consider this news to be another step in the Tax Accountants Full Employment Act. The latest change in the tax law: The "Kiddie Tax" now applies to much older kids! The new tax law puts a crimp in the plans of wealthy parents who had planned to gift highly appreciated stocks to their college-age children, who could then sell the shares and pay a very low capital gains tax rate based on their low income. ... [full story]
1514 times read - No comment posted

Mar 05,2009
The allure of gold is nothing new. Throughout the centuries, gold has held a fascination that comes not only from its beauty (hold a gold coin in your hand, and you'll see what I mean), but also from its truly limited supply. That quality has always made gold a ''safe haven'' in troubled times. And the price of gold has been a barometer of faith in governments and the currencies they issue. At this writing, ... [full story]
1415 times read - No comment posted

Mar 05,2009
The foreclosure plan carries many of the same drawbacks as the stimulus bill. Both are full of good intentions and comforting provisions for those who find themselves in financial trouble. Both pay lip service to words like "stimulus" and "incentives." But in the end, both of these headline programs rely on government to make the decisions, to pick the winners and losers, and to subsidize those solutions with money taken from people who aren't in ... [full story]
1336 times read - No comment posted

Mar 05,2009
Dear Mr. Berko: I just moved to Boca Raton, Fla., from Bethlehem, Pa., where I also read your column. I've enclosed my account for your reference. I'm 74 and had a very substantial account with Janny Montgomery & Scott. In November 2008 I had a nervous breakdown over the stock market. I lost more than $1.7 million, and my daughter and her husband drove up to Bethlehem and very kindly made me move in with ... [full story]
1742 times read - No comment posted

Mar 05,2009
Dear Mr. Berko: I own 150 shares of Lilly at $42 and have a five-point loss. I like the stock because of the good dividend but I need more dividend income. So my broker recommended I sell Lilly, which only yields 4.5 percent, to buy Biovail at $12, which yields13 percent. Please give me your opinion on Lilly and Biovail, and tell me if you think this change would be a good move. Both are ... [full story]
1752 times read - No comment posted

Mar 05,2009
Dear Mr. Berko: My wife and I are each 72, retired and in good health. We sold our house last year for $248,000 and we're renting from the buyer until July when we will take possession of a motor home. We intend to travel around the country for as long as we can, letting time, circumstances and necessity guide our journey. We want to invest $248,000 and are willing to take a little bit of ... [full story]
1261 times read - No comment posted

Mar 05,2009
As our economy experiences one of its most dramatic downturns in decades, the American worker is bearing much of the pain. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.1 million people joined the ranks of the unemployed in the last year. That brought the national unemployment rate up to 7.6 percent — and of course that number is much higher in many parts of the country. If you're one of the people who ... [full story]
1734 times read - No comment posted

Mar 05,2009
I have so much admiration for families who are required to move often and who do it with such ease. Harold and I have moved only three times since we were married, in 1970. Just in case we ever move again, you can be sure I'll keep today's first great reader tip handy. MOVING BOX LABELS. When you are preparing to move and packing your boxes, buy a pack of colored permanent markers. Assign one ... [full story]
1178 times read - No comment posted

Feb 27,2009
Q: I heard Dr. Phil call Social Security a "Ponzi scheme." What are your thoughts on this? A: I suppose some people might seek Dr. Phil's guidance when dealing with a wayward husband or helping a troubled young person. But I don't really think people count on him to help them understand complex economic matters or to explain the financing of the world's largest social insurance system. However, I will say this: Dr. Phil certainly ... [full story]
2726 times read - No comment posted

Feb 25,2009
You can't spend rhetoric. Especially empty rhetoric. President Obama was eloquent trying to sell his economic stimulus program to the American public in Elkhart, Ind., and Fort Myers, Fla., last week. And one homeless woman he met eventually did find lodging — but since that hour, hundreds more families have lost their homes. Meanwhile, during congressional hearings last week, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner violated the first rule of public speaking: If you don't have anything ... [full story]
1377 times read - No comment posted

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