Blog Posts by rbork

blogger photoRosalie is a part-time reference librarian. In addition to working at the Answer Center she purchases and maintains the personal investment collection at the library.


I recently saw an article by Christine Benz, Director of Personal Finance for Morningstar, Inc. about leaving IRA assets to your loved ones.  I thought that this might be of interest to some of our patrons so I am passing on the link to that article:  Ms. Benz will be speaking about Morningstar's predictions for 2011 and beyond on April 5 at 7:00 pm.  If you are interested in attending this talk you can register using the "Events" tab on our website. 
According to the February 18, 2011 issue of The Kiplinger Letter, bank customers aren’t interested in locking up their savings for the long term because interest rates are under 2%.  They predict that total balances on CDs of up to $100,000 will fall by about 2% this year.  They also feel that interest rates will start to climb later on this year causing competition for deposits to increase. 
One way that some banks are using to keep their depositors from straying is to allow customers with multiple accounts to link their savings and checking accounts so that they can earn bonus interest on their savings.  So it might be to your advantage to open both a money market and a checking account.  It doesn’t hurt to ask at your bank. 
To read the rest of The Kiplinger Letter stop in at the library Business Center. 
I was just reviewing the February issue of The Cheap Investor -- The Investor's Guide to Microcap & Turnaround Stocks Under $5 per Share and wanted to share with you a recap of their recommendations for the time period between November 2008 and October 2010.  The average gain of these recommendations was an outstanding 180%.  They follow a strategy of buying quality, low-priced stocks (companies with increasing revenues and earnings and healthy cash and book values) that are selling near their 52-week lows.  It has certainly paid off.
If you are interested in reviewing their portfolio, stop in to the Business Center and catch up with recommendations from The Cheap Investor.
Standard & Poors We have a subscription to Standard & Poor’s Trendline Current Market Perspective. This service is published monthly on the Tuesday closest to the 15th of each month. It charts 2,382 stocks arranged alphabetically. These are the most complete stock charts I have ever seen, far superior to the many charts that are readily available on the Internet.  Stop into the Business Center and take a look at Current Market Perspectives.  The current issue can be found in the Business Center and one year of back issues is kept in the storage area of the Reference Office.  This service provides you with an easy-to-use and efficient tool to follow your holdings and the market at large.
If you have been thinking about buying an annuity or your financial planner has recommended that you consider one, come to the library to learn more about these confusing products.  To look up ratings on variable annuities you can consult the Weiss Ratings Consumer Guide to Variable Annuities We also subscribe to a semi-annual letter called Annuity ShopperThe January issue should be out sometime soon.  If you want some background information on annuities try Annuities For Dummies by Kerry Pechter.  If you are contemplating retirement, check out Don't Die Broke:  How Annuities Can Guarantee Your Income for Life and Keep Your Retirement from Going Belly-Up by David J. Reindel.  If you feel that annuities may become part of your portfolio, some library research might be a good idea.  
At a recent workshop about Maximizing Social Security Benefits given at the Senior Center, Karen Chan from the University of Illinois Extension discussed a strategy known as File and Withdraw.  Karen pointed out certain risks or issues with that strategy including the fact that the rules might change.  As she predicted, these rules did change and she was thoughtful enough to get in touch  with me again about these changes.  If this is a strategy that you have used, these rule changes could be very important to you. For a more detailed  explanation of these changes, follow this link to Karen's blog.
Start the New Year out right with a new book by John Bogle, the founder of the Vanguard mutual fund group and creator of the first index mutual fund.  This is a collection of essays based on Bogle's speeches delivered to professional groups and college students in recent years.  Bogle's insights into investing and entrepreneurship may inspire you to a more profitable new year. 
Interested in Morningstar publications? You can now read and print the following publications from our Morningstar database: Morningstar Mutual Funds, Morningstar FundInvestor, Morningstar StockInvestor, and Morningstar ETFInvestor. You will be able to get the current editions as soon as they are published. I will be reviewing the entire Morningstar database on January 8th at 10:00 a.m. in the Business Center. Please feel free to attend this informal class to learn all about this important investment resource and be sure to check out the convenience of being able to access these newsletters from home.
What do you know about DRIPS?  DRIPS, or dividend reinvestment plans, are plans that allow current shareholders to use their dividends to purchase shares.  Depending on your appetite for investment and your budget, this could be a good way to purchase shares of your favorite company painlessly.   These plans have the added advantage of allowing you to utilize dollar cost averaging and lessen the risk of investing all of your dollars at the wrong time.  If this is something that you are interested in investigating, stop in the Business Center and look at The Drip Investor and The Drip Investor Directory of Dividend Reinvestment Plans. 
Give yourself a financial checkup to see where you are in terms of your assets and liabilities, and spending and savings patterns.  Christine Benz, Director of Personal Finance from Morningstar, Inc. has laid out a step-by-step plan to help you find your financial baseline, calculate your net worth and create a cash-flow statement.  If you feel unsure  how to begin this process, the twenty-page booklet Find your Money Baseline will help you get started.  Go to the Morningstar database and click "Portfolio" and then click on this title which is listed under the "Investment Goals" heading on the Morningstar opening page.