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January 30, 2009

And when your W2 Comes....

Here's a nifty explanation of what it means, from QuickBooks Payroll.

Download file

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Saturday, IRS offices open

To get tax season started, the Internal Revenue Service is going to open its South Florida offices for three Saturdays, starting tomorrow Jan. 31.
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You can get assistance with your return from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. at the IRS offices in Broward, at 7850 SW Sixth Court, Plantation, in Palm Beach at 1700 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., West Palm Beach, and in Miami-Dade at 51 SW First Ave., Miami.

These offices will also be open Feb.7 and Feb. 21.

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January 29, 2009

Coping in Tough Times: Is my Bank CD safe?

The Sun Sentinel answers your questions about the downturn every Wednesday in Your Money. Use the box at the right to send in yours.

I have $10,000 in a certificate of deposit at a local bank. If the bank fails, is the interest earned insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. or just the principal?

Your money — whether it is principal or interest — is insured up to $250,000 per depositor. The FDIC covers any interest earned through the date that a bank fails.

Very often, when a bank fails, its assets are picked up by another bank, which then either cashes out savers or agrees to continue the CD until the date it matures.

The institution would let you know. On brokered CDs, the same insurance limit — $250,000 per depositor per bank — applies. One word on uninsured deposits: The FDIC tries to pay something on them.

So far, in the failure of IndyMac Bank, depositors have received 50 percent of the $541 million in uninsured deposits. The FDIC is in the process of selling IndyMac to an investor group and potentially, there may be even more funds available to repay the uninsured deposits.

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January 28, 2009

From my colleague Doreen Hemlock, The World Slows Down

Bad news for South Florida exporters and hoteliers seeking international arrivals: The International Monetary Fund now predicts the world economy will come to almost to a halt this year, posting its slowest growth since World War II.

The IMF said Wednesday it projects the world economy to grow just 0.5 percent this year, instead of the 2.2 percent rate it forecast in November. The reason: the deepening financial crisis in the UNited States and beyond.

"A sustained economic recovery will not be possible until the financial sector's functionality is restored and credit makers are unclogged," the Washington-based group said, urging "new policy initiatives."
By country and region, the IMF said the economy in the United States will shrink by 1.6 percent this year, more the 0.7 percent drop forecast in November.

It figures Japan will shrink 2.6 percent, Europe contract 1.8 percent and Canada dip 1.2 percent, portending problems for South Florida to attract foreign guests.

The Latin American and Caribbean region, the top market for South Flrida exporters, should grow by only 1.1 percent, instead of the 2.5 percent rate projected in November, the IMF said.

For the updated forecast, check www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/update

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What you need to get a new mortgage

How do you refinance a mortgage today?

I've been working on a story about that and the answer is, it's not easy. One mortgage broker told me six out of ten borrowers don't qualify.

Either they don't have any equity n their home or their home is worth far less than what they borrowed.

If you think you might want to refinance -- and rates still are at historic lows -- here are some tips:

-You need a minimum credit score of 700 to get the best terms. Borrowers with lower scores can get financing, the lenders say, but those borrowers will pay additional fees.

-Ask for less. Lenders also are making smaller loans than they did only a few years ago during the housing boom. Wells Fargo, for example, in November cut the amount it would lend to 90 percent of a single family home’s value, down from 95 percent. For condos, the figure is 80 percent.

-Don't go above 80 percent of your home's value.
That's because anyone who borrows more than 80 percent of value also has to get mortgage insurance – which lenders say has become very difficult to obtain in Florida.

-You have to be working.
Borrowers these days need proof of income, at a time when unemployment is rising. One lender said a very wealthy client who is living off his investment portfolio wasn’t able to refinance because he dodmt have a job.

Bottom line: The mortgage industry rules have changed.
“People who want to get a mortgage who have no equity or little equity in their homes or who want those gold old [loan] programs for those who make money but don’t prove it, those are pretty much gone,” said Stuart Shanefield, of WCS Lending in Boca and Fort Lauderdale.

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January 27, 2009

Which President is Good for Stocks?

Who's worse for the stock market, Bush or Obama?
The market offers equal opportunity for each camp to cause investors to lose money.

Obama's inauguration was the worst inaugural day performance in history. The Dow swooned, falling 4 percent, more than 300 points. It's still hovering around where it landed that day, at 7,949.09


But what about Bush?
(Hint, markets duriing the previous presidency suffered from the tech stock bubble bursting, 9/11 and today's mortgage/housing/credit meltdown)


Wilshire Assocates provided this data on the very broad market index, the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000. The annualized total returns are:





President, First Term, Second Term, Total
Ronald Reagan 12.1%, 16.1%, 14.1%
Geroge H.W. Bush 14.5%, Didn't have one , 14.5%
Bill Clinton 17.7%, 13.5%, 15.6%
George W. Bush 1.0%, -6.8% -3.0%

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January 23, 2009

Money Smarts for the 30s

You can call me biased, but it's a bias toward trying to do the most good. In terms of personal finance, the most good often comes with time.

If you can get younger workers to save and save seriously about retirement, they have the best chance of achieving their goals, because time can turn small amounts invested into large amounts.

And so, here's a list of smart rules for the 30-ish set, for handling money well, from Kiplinger.com:

http://kiplinger.com/columns/starting/archive/2009/st0121.htm

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January 22, 2009

Some good ideas on handling credit cards

My friend Pamela Yip at the Dallas Morning News wrote a great story about how to negotiate a lower interest rate for your credit cards. Like her readers, I've always found that they just won't lower rates, no matter what. But she's put together some good ideas on how to make it through their system and get yourself a break. To have a look, click on this link:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/columnists/pyip/stories/DN-moneytalk_19bus.ART.State.Edition1.4eaee3a.html

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January 21, 2009

Coping in Tough Times: Job or School?

Recession giving you problems? The Sun Sentinel will find answers to your questions about personal finance. Use the box at the right.

Would it be worth it to go back to school to get a bachelor's degree or just stick it out in the job market until a position opens up in your field?


You can do both.

And here's why you should: Unemployment is what economists call a lagging indicator. The economy will turn around and start thriving one day. But unemployment tends to keep rising even after recessions end.

So you want to safeguard your current position and polish your skills for the next job at the same time.

Your competitors for that job may already be enrolled.

"Historically, when economic times are challenging, students go back and acquire a new credential," Don Graham, chief executive of the Washington Post Co., said in December. The Post owns Kaplan University, which has 44,000 students studying online. Probably plenty of those people are working.

Graduate schools, too, report a spike in applications.

Follow your instincts on this one. It'll be a sort of work-study program to keep you employed.


Would it be worth it to go back to school to get a bachelor's degree or just stick it out in the job market until a position opens up in your field?

You can do both.

And here's why you should: Unemployment is what economists call a lagging indicator. The economy will turn around and start thriving one day. But unemployment tends to keep rising even after recessions end.

So you want to safeguard your current position and polish your skills for the next job at the same time.

Your competitors for that job may already be enrolled.

"Historically, when economic times are challenging, students go back and acquire a new credential," Don Graham, chief executive of the Washington Post Co., said in December. The Post owns Kaplan University, which has 44,000 students studying online. Probably plenty of those people are working.

Graduate schools, too, report a spike in applications.

Follow your instincts on this one. It'll be a sort of work-study program to keep you employed.


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January 19, 2009

Coping: How does that new First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit Work?


Here are several of the questions you sent in last week -- and a long answer. The new tax credit was a very popular subject. And, you can still send in a question. Just use the form to the right.


You mentioned the $7,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers. Does that apply to purchases last year or this year?

On that first-time home buyer tax credit, what form do I take it on? The 1040?

On the tax credit for first-time home buyers, is that a one-time credit when purchasing or is it an annual thing?

This is our first time buying a home in Florida. Would we get that credit? We own a home in North Carolina.

First, let’s be truthful.

The First Time Home Buyer Credit which became law last year is not only for first-time home buyers and it’s not really just a credit.

“Credit is a misnomer,” says Gil Charney, principal tax researcher at the Tax Institute at H&R Block. “Because you do have to pay it back.”

Here’s how it works, according to Charney and information from the IRS:

-The credit is for up to $7,500 or 10 percent of the purchase price.

-You take it on Form 5405.

-It’s a federal income tax credit. So it applies to homes bought anywhere in the nation.

-It is refundable. This means, if you buy a home and take this credit, you may be getting a big refund down the road.

-“First Time” does not mean never. If you have owned a home within three years before your date of purchase, then you don’t qualify. But if it’s been longer than that, you do.

-It applies to purchases between April 9, 2008 and through June 30, 2009.

-If your are building a house, you have to occupy it by June 30 to qualify.

-Vacation homes and rental property do not qualify. It has to be your principal residence.

-It must be repaid.

-The government will be tracking this over the years. To repay the credit, you gradually add one-fifteenth of the credit amount to your tax liability over 15 years, starting two years after you first take the credit... If you took a $7,500 credit in 2008, you would begin adding $500 a year to the amount of tax you owe starting in 2010.

-If you sell the house and move before 15 years have passed, you have to pay back the remainder of the credit on your taxes for the year in which it was no longer your residence.

-If you transfer the home to your spouse as part of a divorce, your spouse has to repay it.

-People with high incomes won’t get this credit. The credit begins to phase out for singles at $75,000 and for married couples filing jointly at $150,000. There is no credit for singles whose adjusted gross income is more than $95,000 and marrieds, above $170,000.

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January 17, 2009

Coping in Tough Times: Is my brokerage account insured?

To submit a question, use the box on the right. I'll try to answer as many as possible here and every Wednesday in the newspaper in Your Money.

I’m told my brokerage account is insured by SIPC. What is that and what protections does it offer?

The Securities Investor Protection Corp., as many unfortunate investors have found out, does not insure you against losses in the market. There’s no insurance against fraud, either.
Only when a brokerage firm closes due to bankruptcy or other “financial difficulties” does SIPC step in to try to recover missing stocks, bonds or cash. It covers up to $500,000 in securities and $100,000 in cash.

Some brokerages have purchased private insurance for more than the SIPC limits, so check with your broker.

But if your brokerage does go under, be aware that SIPC doesn’t work as swiftly as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. And it doesn’t cover everything. Commodity futures and currencies, for example, are not covered.

Although it was started by Congress, SIPC is not a federal agency, and it is not a regulator. It is funded by its members, who are broker-dealers. For more info, go to www.sipc.org.

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January 16, 2009

Inflation, What's that?

Inflation has packed its bags and left the beach.

n the sharpest turnaround ever recorded, consumer prices in South Florida last year barely went up.

Often in recent years, Inflation in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropoolitan area was so high it beat out the rate in any other metro area.

But in 2008, the local consumer price iIndex was running at a 0.5 annual rate in December, the Bureau of of Labor Statistics announced Friday. That was a huge decline since October, when local prices were rising at a 4 percent annual rate.

Early in the year, it was as high as 5.8 percent.

"The insanity regarding inflation was largely driven by energy prices," said Economist Sean Snaith of the University of Central Florida. "That's been put on hold at least temporarily by the collapse of oil prices."

He says the CPI will probably be a negative number for the next few months.

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Coping in Tough Times: Selling a House

Every day this week, the Sun Sentinel will answer your questions. To submit a question, use the box on the right. After that, we will publish tips every Wednesday in Your Money.


I just got a job in another city. I need to sell my house — quickly. What can I do?

In this depressed housing market, with so many homes for sale, you have to be creative. Real estate agent David Dweck with Re/Max Professionals in Coconut Creek suggests listing it rent-to-own.

The concept is an old one, in which buyers work their way into homeownership. The way he structures the deal: You set a price to sell your house at some point in the future. The renter pays you a non-refundable, upfront sum for the right to buy it at that price.

The renter moves in, and handles all the maintenance of the home just like an owner would. At the end of the contract, the renter either goes through with the purchase or walks away.

"People who rent-to-own maybe had a foreclosure, and they're rebuilding their credit," he said. "They can kick the tires before they buy it."

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January 15, 2009

Coping in Tough Times: Credit Card Companies Are Tough On Customers

Every day this week, the Sun Sentinel will answer your questions. After that, we will publish tips every Wednesday in Your Money. To ask a question, fill in the box on the right or call 954-356-4628.


I lost my job and can't pay my credit card bill. What are the chances my credit card company will give me a break?

There's a risk in asking for one. In normal times, the best thing to do would be to call and ask for the "remediation department" to try to work out a plan. But these aren't normal times. Emily Peters of Credit.com says she's hearing that strategy is backfiring.

Companies are reducing customers' credit limits or even closing accounts because of a call from the customer about trouble.

Companies aren't lenient and, in many cases, due to the credit crisis, "They are much less capable of working with you," she said.

You can't keep your situation secret forever, but you might delay any negative consequences by staying mum.

To avoid trouble, try your best to at least make the minimum payment — or as much of it as you can.

— Harriet Johnson Brackey


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January 14, 2009

Coping in Tough Times: Your Questions

You've been sending me your questions. Now it's time for me to answer one here and in next week's newspaper. Which question would you pick?

I was downsized in July after working four months. What do I do? I have
no income. I’m a single mom. I have an 11-year-old daughter. No unemployment for anyone who works at a job for less than six months. I’m using savings. What does someone who is really, squeezed do to have an income until you have a job.

Why is the Florida Unemployment Office in such disrepair? Computer breakdowns. Impossible get through on telephone. Hour on hold. Then tell you computer is down.

I have a mortgage linked to Libor that expires on June 30. I pay on time, I’m not delinquent, but the lender only wants to give me a new mortgage raising the rate 1.5 points and they want to escrow my funds for insurance.
I want the loan I have now, interest only, nothing else.
I guess you have to be in default before they want to help you.

You mentioned the $7,500 tax credit for first-time homebuyers. Does that apply to purchases last year or this year.

At what point at what income level once you need nursing care and Medicare has handled as much as it will how much money can you retain before go on Medicaid? Can you retain $100,000 plus house and car

On that first-time homebuyer tax credit, would it apply if this is my first time buying a home in Florida? Or anywhere?

My money has been frozen with the 7-day auction paper with Ameritrade. Frozen since Feb. 12 of 08.How do I get it back?

We have our retirement money with Principal. It is in a flexible variable annuity. It’s down about 40 percent right now. Keeps going down. Not sure what to do with it. Should we cash out leave it there?

I am an investor in the New York Times. In 2004 I had $99,000. Now it’s down to $11,000. Would your advice be to go with the $11,000 or keep on keeping on and see what’s going to happen next year?

I’m selling my mother’s unit in King’s Point. The people are putting their nest egg down as a down payment. Everything went through until the bank realized that Kings Point community is paying off an agreement of deed for the clubhouse. So each unit owes about $500. So all 7,000 units cannot sell according to the bank with a mortgage until this lease is done in 2012. I don’t know if this is even legal. How can any of the 7,200 people who live in Kings Point in Delray Beach sell if nobody will give them a mortgage?

Tax credit for first-time homebuyers, is that a one-time credit when purchasing or is it an annual thing

My son purchased a home that was being built and the appraisal came in less than he paid because the builder lowered his price to sell the last lots and he hasn’t taken posses yet and the house is worth less by about $50,000 than he’s paying. Would you let me know the answer to this.

My question concerns the Workforce unemployment bureau. I myself have been trying to get in touch with them for several months now and their lines are always busy, busy. If there’s anything that can be done to find out what’s wrong over there. Why we who are looking for unemployment checks are trying to get through and it’s been almost like impossible.

Unfortunately it’s not a question. It’s regarding personal things I have in my family. I would like to speak to you. My daughter is a quadriplegic and has major problems. .
You’ll probably end up crying after you listen to what I have to say.

On worthless stock, in the last paragraph you say if you can get that kind of proof you can take an capital loss. My question is can you take the entire loss?. I had always thought it was only $3,000 a year. But if you have that proof can you take the entire loss in one year?

I signed a contract for major repairs last April, the licensed contractor is in foreclosure by his creditors. Is there any way I can claim my loss or get relief?

Does the state of Florida insure every fixed annuity for $100.000? If you have 4 different annuities are each one insured?

My husband passed away, and he owed a lot on credit cards. He had me listed as a card holder. however, I never signed for the cards nor did I use them. To top it off I'm not able to draw on his Social Security because I make too much money. It took both of our incomes to pay all the bills. If I don't draw on his Social Security, am I responsible for his debt?

We were fortunate in selling an investment property and want to use some of the money to pay off credit card debt. Is it wise in paying them off entirely at one time or will this have an adverse affect on credit scores?

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Coping in Tough Times: Trouble Payng Taxes


Every day this week, the Sun Sentinel will answer your questions. After that, we will publish tips every Wednesday in Your Money.



I have a payment plan for back taxes with the IRS, but I can no longer afford to keep up with it. What do you recommend?

It's a good time to try to work out a better deal if you have a payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman last week announced that the agency is giving its employees increased flexibility when dealing with taxpayers facing financial hardships.

In certain cases, IRS employees can suspend collections, lower the monthly payment or allow you to skip a payment, sometimes without documentation.

The agency said it would work with those who had recently lost a job, are facing devastating illness, have significant medical bills or are relying solely on Social Security.

Start by calling the phone number listed on your monthly payment notice.


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January 13, 2009

Coping In Tough Times: Worthless Stock is, well, worthless


Every day this week, the Sun Sentinel will answer your questions about getting through the economic downturn. After that, we will publish tips every Wednesday in Your Money.
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Can I get a tax benefit out of a virtually worthless stock that I own?
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It won’t be easy.
The rule essentially is that the value of your stock or your bond has to go to zero in order to be written off.
“In the IRS’ view, if you can still sell it for two cents per share, that’s not worthless,” said Mark Luscombe, principal tax analyst at CCH, a Wolters Kluwers business.
Two ways to prove a security’s worthlessness: A bankruptcy case closes and common shareholders get nothing. Or, you ask a broker to sell it and there’s no market for the stock or bond.
If you can get that kind of proof, you could take a capital loss. Capital losses can be used to offset capital gain income. And if you don’t have any of that, you can use up to $3,000 in capital losses in any one year to offset ordinary income.

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January 12, 2009

Coping in Tough Times: Buy a House or Not?


Is now a good time to buy a house? I'm worried about what would happen if I get laid off.

Lots of people are taking a look at buying now that prices have fallen iin South Florida. Let's get specific, because that will help you decide.

Start by figuring out what the potential mortgage payment will be on a new loan -- not just the principal and interest. Realize that your property tax bill will go up along with your homeowners insurance premium when you buy a more expensive home. Both of those will add a substantial amount to your monthly expenses
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Now, do a "worst case" scenario to see what you could afford if you or your spouse lost a job.

Next, consider your cash situation. You may have enough to make a down payment, but what about emergencies? Remember that owning a home means fixing something very often. And the more the house costs, the bigger the repair bills.

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Joblessness Getting Worse

Unemployment, the economists say, is a lagging indicator.

The economy turns down, unemployment rises. The economy turns up, unemployment stays high for a while.

What this means is you should look for more increases in unemployment this year.

It’ll be as bad as last year, according to a prediction announced Monday at The Conference Board.

Last year, the nation lost 2.5 million jobs.

Trends tracked by the research organization point to a loss of 2 million more jobs in 2009.

The Conference Board looks at job openings, part-time hiring, factory production and sales, among other things, to figure out which way employment is going.

It's not going up. Jobs are still being lost.

I thought unemployment would rise this year, but geez, that's a very high number.

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Coping in Tough Times: Buy a house now?

Is now a good time to buy a bigger house? I’m worried about what would happen if I get laid off.?

Lots of people are taking a look at buying now that prices have fallen in South Florida. Let’s get specific, because that will help you decide.

Start by figuring out what the potential mortgage payment will be on a new loan — not just the principal and interest. Realize that your property tax bill will go up along with your homeowners insurance premium when you buy a more expensive home. Both of those will add a substantial amount to your monthly expenses.

Now, do a “worst case” scenario to see what you could afford if you or your spouse lost a job.
Next, consider your cash situation. You may have enough to make a down payment, but what about emergencies? Remember that owning a home means fixing something very often. And the more the house costs, the bigger the repair bills.

Note to first-time buyers: You can take an extra $7,500 federal tax credit if you buy by June 30.

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January 11, 2009

Coping in Tough Times : Stretching Your Paycheck

Worried about your job, money and future? We’re here to help. Every day this week, the Sun Sentinel will answer your questions about surviving the economic downturn. Thereafter, look for the tips and suggestions in the Your Money section every Wednesday.

Is there any way I can get some more cash out of my paycheck?
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You can check to see whether you’re giving too much to the government in taxes withheld.
The average refund last year was more than $2,300. If that was your refund, and you //were//get paid every other week, you could have added //about// $88 to each check if your withholding had matched your tax bill.

To figure the correct withholding amount, start with an estimate of your federal tax bill this year. (You can use the amount you paid in taxes last year, but be careful. You can run into penalties for underpayment.)

Then, divide your tax bill by the number of times you get paid each year. That shows you how much money you should have taken out of each check.

The money taken out is known as “allowances.” They vary in amount by your filing status - single or married - and by your gross income.

The easiest way to find out how much each allowance is worth is to ask your employer or human resources department. Or //see//go to www.irs.gov and enter “Withholding Calculator” in the search box.

There’s also IRS Publication 919, “How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding?” But it’s a bit more complicated. To see a copy, //see//go to IRS.gov and select Forms and Publications. Once you have an idea, ask your employer for a W4 form.

You fill out a W-4 W4 when you get hired. But you can file a new W-4 W4 at any time, to change your withholding amount and perhaps put more cash into your check.


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January 9, 2009

This is a Shock: Stocks are Stable

I am liking this stock market right now.

On Thursday, we had the report that consumer borrowing declined by the largest amount in 65 years.

Retailers showed their numbers and it was an awful Christmas.

All that swirling around, with an ominous air of anticipation for the jobless report to come out today.

And what? The market didn’t blink. Stocks are level. Haven't changed much at all since 2008.

That mattered because Thursday marked the end of the first five trading days of the year, which some people think is a sign of what the market will do this month and that, in turn, is often an indicator of what will happen this year.

I don’t really believe in those signs, but they’re fun to watch.

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January 7, 2009

Bankruptcy Is Not Always The Way Out

The other day, one of the talking heads on The Today Show gave some brilliant personal finance advice. If you’re unable to pay your bills and thinking about bankruptcy, she said, call a bankruptcy judge and ask for advice.

I howled at that one.

Like those folks sitting on the federal bench have time.

They’ve seen the number of cases being filed soar. The judges – and the clerks and everyone else in the Southern District bankruptcy court - can handle the surge, I’m sure. They went through worse times in 2005, when the bankruptcy law changed and everyone rushed to the courthouse to beat it.

But the debtors today are in true distress.

And bankruptcy isn’t going to help everyone.

Just ask Judge A. Jay Cristol of the Miami court.

Clearly exasperated with the court’s inability, under current law, to alter the terms of a mortgage on someone’s primary residence, Judge Kristol told me, “The banks are rich and stupid and greedy.”

It’s open to debate whether banks that refuse to renegotiate with troubled borrowers are acting in what might be their own best interest. They’d rather drive another home into foreclosure? With the more than a million homes already there?

But many may have their hands tied, as do the judges. They may have agreements with loan servicing firms that they can’t change. They can’t force the servicers to change loan terms.

As long as this situation continues, “There are going to be a lot of empty homes, a lot of losses and a lot of people on the street,” Judge Cristol said.


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January 5, 2009

It's Brighter, In The Long Run

Let’s look at long-term investors. They’re down, but not as out as you might think.

If you’d owned all the Dow stocks for the five years ending Dec. 31, 2008, you’d be down 5.5 percent for the entire period.
Five-year holders of the Nasdaq index were down 18 percent and of the S&P 500, down 10.5 percent. This is on a total return basis, meaning price changes plus any dividends.

This is supposed to make you feel better.

Because these five-year returns are significantly higher than what happened in the 12 months we just finished.

Last year was all-out awful. The Nasdaq fell almost 41 percent in price alone. S&P, negative 39 percent, the Dow lost 34 percent.

But the addition of time and dividends helps overcome even awful years.

2008 was just one year.

It is so easy to forget, the markets were up four years out of the last five.

If you look at all this on a chart, you’d realize that investors in these three indexes were ahead of the game during those first four – strongly ahead, too, if you were in large-company stocks – before 2008 came along and blew up all their gains or more.

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January 2, 2009

Stocks at Year-End/New Year

Hey there, aren't you glad 2008 is over?

I certainly am. You can read my take on the market's horrible year in the story posted on SunSentinel.com/business under the headline Suffering a Market Hangover.

If you're looking for how your stock is starting off the new year, I can help. .

You can use the service on the middle of this page, left-hand side. Simpy enter your stock or mutual fund symbol or the name or even part of the name. When you get the symbol or ticker, you can get a report of the current price and a chart of its performance.

Hope it's better than last year.
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POSTED IN: Your Money (256)

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About the author
You've got the job of managing your money. No one in school taught you how. But you and I, we can teach each other, how to handle it, how to save for retirement, how to make money last, how to educate the kids, how to make a budget work. The conversations I have with my readers are fun. Money's important, but discussing it does not have to be boring.

Harriet Johnson Brackey Harriet Johnson Brackey, the personal finance columnist for the Sun Sentinel, is an award-winning business reporter. Her columns for 2008 were named "The Best in the Business," a national award chosen by her colleagues at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Brackey has worked at Business Week magazine and at USA TODAY, where she was a founder and part of the original staff of the Money section at the country's first national newspaper. After nearly 11 years there - spent covering the 1980s bull market, the insider trading scandals, the 1987 crash - Brackey left Washington, D.C., and came to The Miami Herald. She spent the next decade writing a column about personal finance that chronicled the stock market's Internet boom and bust, as well as the popular Money Makeover features.

Brackey also has done commentaries for Marketplace Money, which airs on National Public Radio and The Nightly Business Report which is broadcast on more than 250 PBS television stations nationwide. She also has been a radio guest on WLRN’s Miami Herald News.
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