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Housing’s New Job: Rebuilding the Economy

Housing's New Job: Rebuilding the Economy

Here’s something we haven’t heard in the last five years: while government and retail shed jobs, builders continue to add them. A closer look at the numbers shows a split recovery. While the overall economy added 88,000 jobs in March, three areas lost workers that month: government (7,000), retail (24,000) and manufacturing (3,000). Since the …

Jumping off the fiscal cliff

Jumping off the fiscal cliff

What’s the best way to position your portfolio so it doesn’t fall off the fiscal cliff? Try doing nothing. That’s not what you’ll hear in the media, or from some securities firms. Fidelity recommends real estate investment trusts that specialize in healthcare. Seeking Alpha says investors should reduce exposure to U.S. industrials while overweighting global …

Entrepreneurs never say die

Entrepreneurs never say die

The headline reads “Small Business Owners Fear Being Unable to Retire.” But according to a survey done last year by the financial services industry, the opposite may be true. Nearly two-thirds of small business owners fear outliving the money they need to retire, according to a poll from the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute. …

When uncertainty becomes taxing

When uncertainty becomes taxing

Financial service firms do a good job of promoting their key messages—Vanguard and its mantra of reducing fees, T. Rowe Price and its call to maintain stock exposure throughout retirement. Other companies provide adequate boilerplate, such as American Funds’ drumbeat of steady investing in all environments. All sound strategy for the long-term investor, but not …

Working for life

Working for life

The headline grabbed my attention: “The Secret to a Successful Retirement: Don’t Retire.” It adorned an article on The Street about a study by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research: “The best financial advice for the growing number of Baby Boomers eagerly approaching retirement is: ‘Don’t.’” The study found that a combination of depressed home …

Boomers continue march to early retirement

Boomers continue march to early retirement

Despite protests that they can never afford to retire, a new survey shows that baby boomers are still leaving the workforce before the magic age of 65. The trend not only contradicts the conventional wisdom spouted by business and financial journalists but may create problems for a federal government already struggling to pay its bills. …

Continental divide

Continental divide

What a difference an ocean makes. Reaction to the release Friday of U.S. GDP numbers varied depending on which side of the pond you’re from. The headline on the Financial Times website read “US Growth Accelerates to 2.8%.” German’s Der Spiegel wrote “U.S. economy is growing strongly again.” It’s another story in the United States. …

Taking stock of year-end advice

Taking stock of year-end advice

In the past week I’ve read half a dozen articles on major financial websites urging yield-starved investors to switch from bonds to dividend payers. The pitch? That you can get a higher yield with less risk with dividend-paying stocks than you can with bonds, whose yields are depressed as flight-to-safety investors bid up their prices. …

IRS raises pension plan limits for 2012

IRS raises pension plan limits for 2012

As the economy stumbles through recovery and more people worry about meeting basic expenses, here’s something you may not hear much about: The IRS says you can contribute an extra $500 to your 401(k). Contributions to the tax-deferred retirement plans will rise from $16,500 to $17,000 next year as the IRS adjusts those amounts to …

Alphabet dupe

Alphabet dupe

How much of what we do is by choice? How much is influenced by others? Apparently quite of bit of what we consider choice is programmed from an early age, and a crucial part comes from the classroom. That’s according to a pair of university researchers who studied the effect of surnames on buying habits. …

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