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Dec 14,2007
Dear Mr. Berko: I have just about $100,000 to invest short-term (about 18 months) in a money market fund or tax-free money market fund. Please tell me if you think the Vanguard Taxable Money Market Fund 5.26 percent is a safe fund. And please tell me if the Vanguard Tax-free Money Market Fund paying 3.55 percent is a safe fund. I'm in the 35 percent tax bracket and I can't figure out if I'm better ... [full story]
3217 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
Dear Mr. Berko: I have three problems with American Telephone & Telegraph, which is my land line carrier and well as my Internet provider. As my land line carrier, I noticed a monthly charge of $7.50 for network access charges. I've written for an explanation and they have not answered my question. I've also written three Florida legislators and they haven't responded, either. That $7.50 is 35 percent of my $23 land line bill. Can ... [full story]
1463 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
It is the season of giving. In the next three articles, I'm going to talk about ideas for giving in every sense of the word - giving to our friends and families; giving the gift of knowledge (a gift we should all give more often to those we care about); and giving to charity. This week features the joys and dangers of present giving. The old cliche seems even truer this year: Christmas comes earlier ... [full story]
1639 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
Dear Mr. Berko: Because a lot of people follow your advice I feel that you should share your political philosophy with us. Are you a Republican, a Democrat or an independent - and why? Whom do you support for president and why do you support that person? What do you like about President Bush or what do you dislike about him? What do you think about Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and what do you think ... [full story]
2441 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
Dear Mr. Berko: Please tell me about a bank called Marshall & Ilsley. And please tell me about its spin-off of Metavante. What will be the price and earnings of Metavante and how much will the spin-off affect the earnings of Marshall & Ilsley? Do you think Marshall & Ilsley and Metavante will be good investments? I might want to buy 100 shares of Marshall & Ilsley, which at $30.44 is way down from its ... [full story]
1926 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
Dear Mr. Berko: We have three dogs and three cats and just love them to death. We figure that we spent almost $1,000 last year on their care so we are considering pet health insurance with a company called VPI Pet Insurance and the costs are about $125 to $150 a month. What can you tell me about VPI Pet Insurance? We spend an average of $40 a month on pet care but because we ... [full story]
1733 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
In its purest form, money is a resource. A tool, if you will, that provides choices. Money also has a lot of symbolic power. To some people it becomes a metaphor for success or self-esteem, and for some families money becomes a way to exert power and control - or even a symbol of love itself. This seems to be particularly true when it comes to passing on wealth to future generations. This point was ... [full story]
1304 times read - No comment posted

Dec 03,2007
In my last column, I talked about ways to give your children practical experience with money - spending it, saving it and earning it - with an eye toward providing them with a foundation of good financial values that will prepare them to be financially responsible adults. These values aren't entirely about personal gain; I certainly believe that we would do well to instill in our children a sense of generosity and help them learn ... [full story]
1513 times read - No comment posted

Nov 30,2007
A friend of mine, the mother of a 10-year-old, recently asked me for advice. "My husband and I have started to give our daughter an allowance," she said. "But frankly, I don't know how to teach her what money really means. What does she need to know? And what should I do?" As we talked (and, needless to say, I was full of advice on this topic), I realized she wasn't asking about the nuts ... [full story]
2042 times read - No comment posted

Nov 16,2007
Dear Mr. Berko: My 69-year-old mother is moderately comfortable and has enough pension, Social Security and Individual Retirement Account income to meet all her living costs. Mom has $83,000 in certificates of deposit and would like to be aggressive with about $50,000. She wants growth as well as income and would like to earn between 5.5 percent and 6 percent on this money. At the same time, she would like to have annual appreciation of ... [full story]
3017 times read - No comment posted

Nov 16,2007
Dear Mr. Berko: In March of 2003 I asked for advice on McDonald's. It was $32 then and you told me not to buy. My broker said you were nuts and on his recommendation I did buy 300 shares and now have a 27-point profit. I saw that the company took a loss last quarter and the stock dropped dead in its tracks. Why did MCD have a loss last quarter? Do you think this ... [full story]
1458 times read - No comment posted

Nov 16,2007
Dear Mr. Berko: I have three questions and I need the first and second questions answered right away for my wonderful aunt and my dad. 1. What is the difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage? If you approve of Medicare Advantage would you recommend Aetna, United Health or Blue Cross? 2. My 58-year-old dad, a widower, lost his job and his health insurance and needs serious surgery. I asked to take $43,000 from my 401(k) ... [full story]
2644 times read - No comment posted

Nov 16,2007
In one of my first Money and You columns, I wrote about the alarming number of Americans who are ill-prepared for retirement. One of the statistics I mentioned was that about 60 percent of people age 45 or older have less than $100,000 in retirement savings, according to a 2007 Employee Benefit Research Institute study. It is a pretty scary figure when you consider just how much it costs to have a secure retirement. My ... [full story]
1396 times read - No comment posted

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