June 23, 2014 |
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.
June 16, 2014 |
Retiring single has its privileges and challenges. There's freedom, and there's financial responsibility, which some people may find daunting. These sites help sort out the issues and answers. The Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement, at WiserWomen.org, provides this retirement planning page with links to retirement calculators, explainers on reverse mortgages, pensions, divorce, veteran's benefits, and a whole lot more. "Living alone as you approach retirement is hard work," notes this post at tiaa-cref.org, the financial-service firm for employees of nonprofits.
June 9, 2014 |
Friday's jobless figure - 6.3 percent - for May (same as April) means the economy is improving, but slowly, the experts say. Is this what an economic recovery is supposed to feel like? This month marks five years since the end of the Great Recession. Starting with a chart about the job numbers, CNN Money presents 17 visuals to illustrate the recovery. Unemployment has fallen from 10 percent in late 2009, gross domestic product has wobbled, stocks have soared, mortgage foreclosures have plummeted.
June 2, 2014 |
Is inflation good or bad? You'll hear it both ways, and the answer rests largely on whether you're talking about national economies or individuals and families, big borrowers or big spenders, you or me. At Marketplace.org , there's an excerpt from a book by senior editor Paddy Hirsch that seeks to explain in simple terms why some inflation is a good thing. In the excerpt, a shop owner raises prices for his limited supply of candy when a family of 10 children moves into his small town.
May 25, 2014 |
Entrepreneurship is the risky business of starting and running businesses. Some people are naturals, but can you learn to be an entrepreneur? Yes, say some of the experts. Here's how. Thinking like an entrepreneur may not come naturally, but this brief guide to cultivating an entrepreneurial mind-set, at Entrepreneur.com, will point you in the right direction. First among writer Murray Newlands' directives is to "anticipate failure. " That might sound counterproductive. However, says Newlands, "in a study conducted by Duke University and the University of Southern California, 549 successful company founders said the most important reason for their success was their ability to learn from mistakes.
May 19, 2014 |
You'd be hard-pressed to find a college not offering online courses. Some are cheap alternatives to traditional schooling. Here are some things to consider about inexpensive distance learning. Coursera offers free online access to hundreds of college courses from Yale, Peking University, Penn State and 106 other institutions of higher learning. That's impressive, but can you get real credit for taking a course on Coursera? Yes, in a way. Within a few weeks of starting a course, you can decide to opt for Signature Tracking.
May 12, 2014 |
Commissions, administration fees, investment fees, service fees. Your company 401(k) retirement plan may be subject to any and all of these - some of them year-in and year-out. Fees on 401(k) plans are the subject of this post at the U.S. Department of Labor page. It illustrates the problem investors face, like this: Say you have $25,000 in a 401(k), with 35 years to go before you'll need to tap the account for income. If the investment return is 7 percent per year, and fees are 0.5 percent, "your account balance will grow to $227,000 at retirement, even if there are no further contributions to your account.
April 28, 2014 |
Moving is on a lot of people's to-do lists as the economy improves, jobs change, schools let out, and older people look to downsize. Make it a little simpler with some planning advice. Lifehacker.com has a "start-to-finish guide for moving to a new place. " By Adam Dachis, this post is for do-it-yourselfers who want to - or must - take on the challenge of moving without professional help. Unless you're relocating from a dorm room, it's usually a really big job. But Dachis breaks it down into simple parts: preparation, packing, labeling, and moving in. Along the way, there are myriad issues, such as how to find cheap packing material, how to know if your stuff will fit in the new place, and how to talk a few, but not too many, friends into helping.
April 21, 2014 |
Last-minute tax filers who were due money back from the Internal Revenue Service are just getting, or still awaiting, their refunds. Here are ways to decide what to do with the cash. Kiplinger.com says refunds, which average around $3,000, should go "to bolster your personal balance sheet. " First, consider giving yourself a raise, this post suggests, "by adjusting your tax withholding to increase your take-home pay. " More immediately, use the money you got back from the IRS to pay off credit-card debt, or set it aside for an emergency fund, or boost a savings, retirement, or college account.