3 Ways to Cut Your Investment Tax Bill

As tax season draws to a close for another year, you may be among those feeling the pinch from taxes paid on investments. I admit that paying taxes is not exactly my favorite thing, so I always look for ways to be more tax-efficient. Here are three things you can do to keep more of what you earn: First, buy tax-efficient investments. Mutual funds that turn over stocks in the portfolio pass along any taxable gains to their holders. Many active funds …

Guard Your Home Equity With Your Life

Home ownership is the foundation of middle-class wealth. The home equity asset is created when mortgages are paid down. It represents the difference between what your house is worth and what you owe on your mortgage. African Americans are less likely to own homes than others — fewer than half of all African Americans own their homes, compared with 66 percent for others. With fewer assets, however, we often have more pressure to tap into home equity than others. I …

Schwab Starts No-Fee Investment Service

The investing world has been all atwitter — or a tweeter — over the coming of Charles Schwab’s Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which opened to the public today. The new service from the San Francisco-based money manager is the latest in the growing world of “robo-advisers,” or investment advisory solutions that rely on computer algorithms to build, monitor and rebalance portfolios based on your stated goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Online competitors include Betterment, Wealthfront, SigFig and others, which have …

Are You a Risk-Taker? Don’t Be Fooled by Bull Market

I’ve filled out more than a few risk-profile questionnaires over the years. These forms are supposed to measure how much investment risk you’re comfortable with, such as what percentage of your portfolio should be in risky stocks versus low-risk bonds. Every questionnaire I’ve ever done has pegged me as a living-on-the-edge kind of guy who should have between 70 percent and 91 percent of my money in stocks or stock funds. And that’s the problem. In reality, only 45 percent of my money is in stock and stock funds, …

Brooke Astor’s Grandson Tells Senate Panel of Financial Abuse

The Senate Special Committee on Aging held one of its periodic hearings on financial abuse of older people the other day, this time inviting a relative involved in one of the more spectacular headline-making cases in recent years to testify. The grandson of socialite Brooke Astor, who blew the whistle on his father for plundering millions from his grandmother’s estate, told the Senate panel Wednesday that his grandmother’s greatest legacy may be the national attention focused on elder financial abuse. “While my grandmother …

Will There Be a Santa Claus Market Rally?

Since 1950, December has proven to be the best month for the stock market. According to MoneyChimp.com, the S&P 500 has turned in an average gain for December of 1.62 percent, outpacing any other month. So far this December, Santa has left nothing but coal in the stock market’s stocking, with the S&P 500 losing more than 65 points, or about 3.77 percent, through Dec. 15. Not exactly anyone’s idea of a rally. >> 5 Bad Investment Moves No need …