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BUSINESS
September 29, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Smartphones are expensive to own, but the powerful, often free, apps they carry around can make up for some of that expense. These sites offer guides to useful money-saving apps. Budgeting apps are first-off. Everything Zoomer, a site that says it's for the "45-plus demographic," recently posted this list of recommended personal-finance apps. It notes that most banks and other financial institutions now provide apps for tracking your accounts, finding ATMs, and so forth. Many save you a trip to the bank by allowing deposits by snapping photos of checks.
BUSINESS
September 22, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Financial independence can mean being able to live on your own, feeling free to retire, or feeling free to work at something you enjoy without worrying about the size of your paycheck. J.D. Roth , founder of the Get Rich Slowly website, says in this post that he has boiled the subject down to a "one-page guide to financial independence" in the retirement sense. What does he suggest? A rather ambitious program to save money, and not just 10 percent or 20 percent of your income. "Your goal should be to save at least 50 percent of your income - and 70 percent is better," Roth says.
BUSINESS
September 15, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
When you are new to investing or in search of a disciplined way to salt away funds, try the method called dollar-cost averaging, or DCA. Here are some pointers, and caveats. Investopedia.com explains the basics: "Dollar-cost averaging is carried out simply by investing a fixed dollar amount into your mutual fund (or other investment instrument) at predetermined intervals. " But why? "It's a strategic way to invest because you buy more shares when the cost is low, so you get an average cost per share over time, meaning you don't have to invest the time and effort to monitor market movements and strategically time your investments.
BUSINESS
September 1, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Reports of a major data breach at JPMorgan and other banks - possibly by Russian hackers - puts in question the security of customer accounts. What's a consumer to do? Infosecurity magazine runs through the possible methods of the hackers and what the fallout might be. "The FBI has called the skill associated with the attack 'far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers,' leading many to conclude that the action was state-sponsored," writes reporter Tara Seals. The cold implication: "Without significant change in strategy, ultimate resistance to high-level attacks is, well, futile.
BUSINESS
August 25, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Financial failure, in personal life or in business, is an opportunity for learning and, perhaps, a prerequisite for success - or so say a lot of experts. Here is some of their reasoning and strategy. Will your child be a financial failure? In a post at DailyFinance.com, columnist Michele Lerner lists warning signs that parents should look for, as an opportunity to make positive changes. Does a child always need the latest version of stuff, run up huge debts (including for college)
BUSINESS
August 4, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
Do traditional market indexes such as the Standard & Poor's 500 represent the soundest ways to track stocks? Are mutual funds and ETFs that invest in those index stocks the best for you? Maybe not. Many so-called alternative indexes have gained credibility, and investors, in recent years and may offer new options for market participation and growth. Firms have been adding them at a brisk clip. This June post at etftrends.com describes new ETFs (stock-like exchange-traded funds)
BUSINESS
June 23, 2014 | By Reid Kanaley, Inquirer Columnist
The stock market keeps stretching to new highs. Is it a bubble? And if it is, when will it burst? Bubbles don't announce themselves clearly, so a look back at the history of bubbles is instructive. Booms, burst bubbles , crashes, and other economic upheavals have been going on forever. Harvard Business School offers a collection of case studies on U.S. busts back to the Panic of 1837 and including the famous stock-market bubble of 1925-29 that preceded the Great Depression. It also details the less-well-known real estate bubble that came just before that 1920s market boom and saw empty building lots in Miami being sold 10 times per day. If we only had learned . . . "Whatever else you might say about today's stock market, it is nowhere near as overheated as it was 14 years ago," Mark Hulbert wrote in this MarketWatch post in April, where he compared the market this year with the tech bust of spring 2000.
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