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Feb 22,2008
Dear Mr. Berko: I have 700 shares of Yahoo! that I bought at $30.75 in June of 2006. What is your opinion of the Microsoft takeover? Should I wait for Microsoft to complete its negotiations and perhaps get $40 a share or should I sell now and get a guaranteed $29 or $30? B.R. Vancouver, Wash. Dear B.R.: Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO-$29.79) reminds me of the beleaguered USAir, the airline that is so "fhablungent" it can't ... [full story]
2201 times read - No comment posted

Feb 22,2008
Dear Mr. Berko: Please give me your thoughts on MBIA and AMBAC, the two large insurers of municipal bonds. How did they get into such trouble that they now trade at 10 percent of their high prices last year? I'd like to buy 500 shares of each stock. What do you think of their chances of recovery? C.H. Moline, Ill. Dear C.H.: In a time zone not too distant from today, when Merrill Lynch, Bear ... [full story]
1391 times read - No comment posted

Feb 22,2008
Dear Mr. Berko: I have an account at a major brokerage firm whose research department recommended that I buy 200 shares of Capital One Financial, the big credit card issurer, in February of 2007 at $81. The stock is now $47.78. Now my broker wants me to sell my Pfizer, which you recommended in August of last year at $24 and is at $22.50. Please tell me what's wrong with Capital One and give me ... [full story]
1482 times read - No comment posted

Feb 15,2008
Personal debt has been grabbing the headlines - and there is no shortage of cautionary tales. I must admit, in general, I am not a fan of debt. Interest payments are expensive, along with late fees and penalties if you don't pay on time. Easy access to credit prompts many people to spend beyond their means. And every dollar you spend on interest is another dollar you can't save and invest. But some debt is ... [full story]
1717 times read - No comment posted

Feb 01,2008
Once upon a time, there was a nation where, during an era of prosperity, large numbers of citizens used short-term, interest-only loans to purchase their homes. They were apparently unaware that once the good times ended, they would be saddled with unbearable debt. Which is exactly what happened in America roughly 75 years ago. During the Roaring '20s, the typical mortgage was an interest-only loan that ended with a massive balloon payment. That bears a ... [full story]
1763 times read - No comment posted

Feb 01,2008
Dear Mr. Berko: I'm 56 and really concerned about the state of the economy, our high national debt, the subprime crisis, falling home prices, high cost of oil and gas, falling stock market and the falling dollar - and of course, my future in this country. I work for a large bank that is now in the process of laying off more employees. I've been here 24 years, earn a fair salary, have a decent ... [full story]
2217 times read - No comment posted

Feb 01,2008
Dear Mr. Berko: I own one share of Berkshire Hathaway that I got from my dad in 2002 when it was selling for $67,000 a share. I'd like to know the businesses it owns; I know it owns such as Precision Steel Warehouse, where I used to work for nine years. And please tell what those private businesses are worth. Berkshire also owns big public companies. Would you tell me what their names are and ... [full story]
2856 times read - No comment posted

Feb 01,2008
Dear Mr. Berko: I'm 78 years old and have an account with one of the larger brokerage firms worth $418,000. Like most investors, I'm getting real scared of the market. This stock account, my Social Security, my debt-free home and $21,000 in savings is what's left after 49 years of marriage. The divorce also cost me $600 a month in alimony. But worst of all is that back in June my account was worth $441,000 ... [full story]
2424 times read - No comment posted

Feb 01,2008
If your family is like most, talking about money is difficult under the best of circumstances. When it comes to your aging parents, it can be even harder. To start with, no matter how old you are, many in your parents' generation are just plain uncomfortable talking about money with the "kids." On the other hand, it may seem like you're taking on the parent role - something that can be awkward for all of ... [full story]
1461 times read - No comment posted

Feb 01,2008
At a party over the holidays, a woman I've known forever asked me about long-term care insurance. She and her husband were starting to think about retirement and its more unpleasant partner: old age. Specifically, she wanted to know if LTC insurance was a good idea. My answer, as is so often the case with personal financial issues, was "it depends." As I'll explain, chances are you're going to need some form of custodial care ... [full story]
2379 times read - No comment posted

Feb 01,2008
As the Oregon legislature prepares to consider stronger regulation of the mortgage loan industry, a new analysis by the Oregon Center for Public Policy has found a racial pattern in the state's subprime lending. A state Senate committee hearing on SB 1090, which proposes to better regulate Oregon's mortgage industry, is scheduled for today. At all income levels, Oregon's African American and Hispanic borrowers are more likely than whites to have received subprime loans, said ... [full story]
2778 times read - No comment posted

Jan 11,2008
After more than a year of watching the real estate bubble pop and spatter over the economy, the Federal Reserve finally decided to pull the reins in on the mortgage industry. Under new guidelines recently set forth, borrowers will have to prove they're making money before they can get a loan. What a radical concept! Lenders will be barred from making loans without first considering whether borrowers have enough money to pay them back. Amazing! ... [full story]
1110 times read - No comment posted

Jan 11,2008
Dear Mr. Berko: Please don't use my name or my firm's name. I'm a broker with a large New York Stock Exchange firm and several times I tried to tell my superiors of the potential dangers of the subprime market and the danger of holding billions of dollars of those mortgages in the firm's portfolios. I was very nicely told to shut up. Two of my clients want to sue my firm because they have ... [full story]
2111 times read - No comment posted

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