Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ E-commerce: The consumer wins ]]>

Originally published August 7, 2001 BY TERRY SAVAGE You might not get too worked up about e-commerce, but the idea of having someone else do the routine and time-consuming task of shopping for your groceries is certainly an enticing one. That’s especially true if you can get good prices and great service. Which is why the online grocery shopping war is heating up in Chicago. Peapod started its computerized shopping service in Chicago a decade ago--before there ever was an Internet. Consumers could telephone, fax or send their orders via a special computer program that dialed from your computer to … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:14 -0600 <![CDATA[ Want to be a real fund manager? ]]>

Originally published: August 7, 2001 So you really think you can beat the market? Well, now you’re going to get a chance to prove it--and perhaps make the leap to becoming a professional mutual fund manager. It’s a real-life contest and the creation of one of America’s most successful mutual fund managers. Ken Kam was the founder of Firsthand Funds, the $1 billion family of technology funds that made its name with outstanding performance and by hiring only fund managers who had first-hand experience in their fields of technology. Now he’s looking for a few more good fund managers, and … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:13 -0600 <![CDATA[ The free toaster makes a modern-day reprise ]]>

Originally published: October 8, 2001 Remember when banks gave out toasters as rewards for deposits? Well, here’s the 21st century equivalent. Now you can get airline miles for investing in an annuity. And, you can get actual cash deposited into your college savings account by patronizing companies such as General Motors and L.L. Bean. For savers looking for safety, tax deferral, and relatively high yields, there are a lot more rewards than toasters these days. CNA Life and the American Airlines AAdvantage program have just created a partnership that will give investors airline miles for every dollar they invest in … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:10 -0600 <![CDATA[ More flexibility allowed in Sec. 529 college plans ]]>

Originally published: October 8, 2001 Section 529 College Savings/Investment Plans--already the best way to save for college--just got better. Last week the IRS issued a ruling allowing more choice of investments and changes of investment within these plans, making them even more flexible. And, of course, all the money invested in 529 plans grows tax-free if the cash is withdrawn to pay for college expenses, including tuition, room and board and supplies. These programs are started by individual states, in connection with financial services providers such as mutual fund companies and brokerage firms. I spent several days last week at … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:10 -0600 <![CDATA[ Stay with investment plan ]]>

Originally published: October 8, 2001 It’s easy to be scared out of the stock market. All the statistics that show the market is a good investment over the long run are small comfort when it’s your money that is disappearing down the drain of collapsing prices. That’s where self-discipline comes in. Just as you can look back and say you should have sold out when you had profits, it’s now equally difficult to force yourself to stick with an investment program that requires you to put new dollars into your investment account. Yet that’s just what you should be doing. … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:10 -0600 <![CDATA[ Graphs bolster theory of market tampering ]]>

Originally published: October 8, 2001 One of the ugliest aspects of the terrorist attack is the increasingly likely possibility that those who financed the terrorists actually profited from the decline in the stock market. The Chicago Board Options Exchange and the SEC confirmed they are participating in an investigation of the trading activity in stocks and options of companies whose businesses were affected by the attacks. A conspiracy theory? Typically I am not a believer in conspiracy theories, but some rather shocking graphics exist on the Web that lend credence to the theory that people who may have known about … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:09 -0600 <![CDATA[ We will survive and prosper ]]>

Originally published: September 12, 2001 Whenever I’ve been asked wheter I fear a bear market, I’ve always pointed out that over the long run, you should make money in a broadly diversified portfolio of American stocks. In fact, there has never been a 20-year period--going back to 1926--where you would have lost money investing in America’s largest companies. Today is no different. We have survived and prospered. There have been several times in the past 75 years, since 1926, when America’s future looked bleak. But great adversity has always pulled America together. We are a nation of survivors. It’s in … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:10 -0600 <![CDATA[ GE shares fall, but this patriot has no regrets ]]>

Originally published: October 8, 2001 The stock market closed down 684 points on Monday. Do I regret my patriotic gesture to buy 100 shares of America’s largest company--General Electric--on the opening trade? Not one bit. I made it quite clear that this was a decision driven by emotion, not my investment background. I wasn’t making a major change in my asset allocation. And I clearly said that my intention was to make a long-term investment--as well as a statement of defiance. As trading started I watched GE open down nearly $4 at $35.50 a share. Mine was just 100 shares … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:10 -0600 <![CDATA[ ‘Wealth effect’ could fool you into bankrupcy ]]>

Originally published: August 7, 2001 The economic news gets better and better - low unemployment, strong growth, no inflation - and the stock market continues to push against its all-time highs. Then why did a record 1.44 million Americans file for bankruptcy last year? In Chicago, bankruptcy filings climbed to 1,455 last year, a 5.8 percent increase in the figures for 1998 over 1997. That’s twice the national bankruptcy rate of increase, which was 2.7 percent. Behind those statistics are individuals and families for whom bankruptcy will have a long-lasting impact. Bankruptcy will stay on their credit reports for 10 … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:30 -0600 <![CDATA[ Web sites give you facts to puncture dubious hype ]]>

Originally published: August 7, 2001 You suddenly receive a call from a broker singing the praises of a small technology company that’s about to revolutionize e-commerce. You hear a radio commercial promising you can make a fortune attending a seminar about trading stock options or purchasing heating oil futures. In an Internet chat room everyone seems to know about the next company that will quadruple in price. So is this the road to instant riches - or instant poverty? The rise of the Internet has elevated stock fraud to a new level, both in the number of scams that … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:27 -0600 <![CDATA[ Memorializing our principles ]]> Lead story image

Originally published: August 7, 2001 This Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to think about what we memorialize. The holiday originally started out as “Decoration Day,” to honor those who served the country in war. These days, for many people the three-day weekend serves as the official start of summer - a chance to launch the boat, bring out the picnic basket and play baseball. But for those of us who watch the financial system, there should be a different approach to the holiday. This is the perfect time to “memorialize” those basic requirements for our free enterprise system … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:02 -0600 <![CDATA[ Track your money via PC ]]>

Originally published: August 1, 2007 Here’s an investment that’s guaranteed to pay off many times over, saving you money and time and increasing your financial knowledge: a computer and first-rate money-management software. I think most people are afraid to buy a financial program because they’re intimidated by the process - from installing the software to figuring out how to start tracking their finances to worrying about the security of their personal data. If only you had someone to hold your hand along the way, I’m sure your financial life would be revolutionized with this small investment of time and money. … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:36 -0600 <![CDATA[ The best way to save for college ]]>

Originally published: August 7, 2001 No matter what the ultimate resolution of this week’s wild swings on Wall Street, the ups and downs provide some potent lessons for today’s investors. If a resolution to the upside convinces people that the stock market is a one-way street, then the market is setting us up for an even more convincing reality check. If, on the other hand, newer investors gain a healthy respect for the ability of the market to both create--and destroy--wealth, then the stock market will be on firmer ground. So here’s a look at some Old Lessons for the … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:18 -0600 <![CDATA[ Technology brings out bear and bull ]]>

Originally published: August 7, 2001 With the Nasdaq plunging and dot-coms deconstructing, I figured it was time to touch base with legendary Chicago investor Sam Zell. In an interview here in mid-March, at the height of dot-com mania (you can read it again at, Zell confidently proclaimed that these new e-commerce companies were highly overvalued because the companies themselves could be easily replicated for less money than their total market value. Back then, he was selling them short (borrowing shares and selling them, and expecting to make a profit by replacing the shares later with repurchased lower-priced shares). In … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:13 -0600 <![CDATA[ Track finances on your PC ]]>

Originally published: August 7, 2001 Last week’s column showed you how to get your Quicken program installed, and create a checkbook in the program. Remember, you can keep only your register online while writing or printing paper checks, or you can actually bank online and let your bank send out the checks. Either way, the important aspect of using Quicken is to track your expenditures in categories every time you write a check. Today we’ll focus on using Quicken to track and control all of your money. Step 1. By now you should have created a personal checking account in … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:11 -0600