Chicago Sun-Times http://www.suntimes.com Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us webmaster@suntimes.com (Editor) Newspapers http://www.suntimes.com/csp/cms/sites/STM/assets/img/logos/suntimes.gif Chicago Sun-Times http://www.suntimes.com 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Our greatest financial mistake is to waste time ]]>

Originally published: January 1, 2004 No resolutions. That was my resolution last year. And it was the one resolution I managed to keep in 2003. I decided not to make any more financial resolutions, because I’ve come to understand that money isn’t the most precious commodity. Time is. After all, time can make you money. But no amount of money can buy you time. So the real commodity that you want to avoid wasting is time. And it strikes me that all my previous columns about not wasting money by paying interest on credit-card debt, or spending instead of investing … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:27 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292155-570/our-greatest-financial-mistake-is-to-waste-time.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292155-570/our-greatest-financial-mistake-is-to-waste-time.html <![CDATA[ A review of tax changes taking effect this year ]]>

Originally published: January 8, 2004 Tax law changes that take effect this year will make a difference in your personal finances. Some will happen automatically, and some of these new tax deals require you to take some action now. * The tax cut. Here’s one change that will benefit all workers, and it will show up in your paycheck, because you’ll take home more money. Clearly, it wasn’t just the rich people who got a tax break. In fact, all taxable income above $28,000 will be taxed less this year than for 2003. And the lowest tax bracket of 10 … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:27 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292151-570/a-review-of-tax-changes-taking-effect-this-year.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292151-570/a-review-of-tax-changes-taking-effect-this-year.html <![CDATA[ Executives Club panelists optimistic on 2004 ]]>

Originally published: January 15, 2004 This is the season when economists make their forecasts. They get to make a new one every year, and only the economists with winning forecasts call attention to their previous predictions. The Wall Street Journal’s annual survey of economists is a particularly interesting indicator, because its consensus forecast is always so far from the mark. Over the years I’ve collected a pool of economists and market watchers whose forecasts I value, because they tend to be so basically correct. Personally, I try never to make forecasts, only to repeat the ones I tend to agree … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:27 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292149-570/executives-club-panelists-optimistic-on-2004.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292149-570/executives-club-panelists-optimistic-on-2004.html <![CDATA[ Some tips on preventing losses from identity theft ]]>

Originally published: January 29, 2004 Have you ever lost your wallet or had it stolen? You get a horrible sinking feeling. Then rational thinking takes over. What exactly was in your wallet, and how do you keep your entire identity from being stolen? That’s almost more important than the cash you lost, because a serious thief could do a lot of damage to your financial life. Here are a few tips that won’t take away the shock, but could eliminate some of the potential consequences. But you must be prepared in advance. Start by making a list of all the … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:27 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292145-570/some-tips-on-preventing-losses-from-identity-theft.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292145-570/some-tips-on-preventing-losses-from-identity-theft.html <![CDATA[ Filing for bankruptcy can cause other problems ]]>

Originally published: February 5, 2004 February is the official start of the bankruptcy season. All that holiday shopping showed up on credit-card bills that arrived in January. And if you didn’t pay those bills off last month, they’ll arrive again in the next few weeks, plus interest. That’s why you’ll be seeing more of those commercials inviting you to escape the burden of credit-card debt by filing for bankruptcy. Last year 1.6 million Americans declared bankruptcy, and more than a million people have filed every year for the last decade. But think before you make that decision. No matter what … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:27 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292137-570/filing-for-bankruptcy-can-cause-other-problems.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292137-570/filing-for-bankruptcy-can-cause-other-problems.html <![CDATA[ It’s time to take the first step now for college aid ]]>

Originally published: February 19, 2004 The money will run out soon! I knew that would get your attention. And I’m serious about it. If you’re a high school senior who’s hoping to get financial aid for college this fall, you must take action now. Since many schools hand out financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis, you must get the application process started today, even before you hear whether you have been accepted to one or more colleges. There is one central application for financial aid at any college or university -- public or private. It is used by almost … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:27 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292136-570/its-time-to-take-the-first-step-now-for-college-aid.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292136-570/its-time-to-take-the-first-step-now-for-college-aid.html <![CDATA[ Hit the information highway for info on car financing ]]>

Originally published: February 12, 2004 With the Chicago Auto Show running through this weekend, a lot of people are thinking about buying a new car. But before you fall in love with that shiny model on the floor, there are a few things you should know about pricing both the car and the financing. That’s really a simple task these days because online services make it possible for you to get all the information you need to make a great deal. Obviously your first concern is getting the best price on the car. We’re way past the days when car … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:27 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292130-570/hit-the-information-highway-for-info-on-car-financing.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292130-570/hit-the-information-highway-for-info-on-car-financing.html <![CDATA[ Look before you leap on Greenspan’s ARM plug ]]>

Originally published: March 4, 2004 Don’t follow Alan Greenspan’s advice! The Federal Reserve chairman isn’t supposed to forecast interest rates, but there he was last week, warning home buyers against fixed-rate mortgages and promoting adjustable-rate mortgages to achieve financial “flexibility.” Instead, it’s likely he’s luring many households into financial disaster. Greenspan can’t promise that interest rates will remain at present, historically low levels, because the Fed chairman can’t control long-term rates. And the Fed chairman is not supposed to be forecasting future interest rates anyway. So why would he lead homeowners into a trap that could cost them plenty of … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:26 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292127-570/look-before-you-leap-on-greenspans-arm-plug.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292127-570/look-before-you-leap-on-greenspans-arm-plug.html <![CDATA[ TurboTax offering users live advice via phone, Net ]]>

Originally published: February 26, 2004 Twenty million people prepare their own income taxes using pencil and paper forms. Another 79 million use a professional tax preparer. Those pros range from IRS-enrolled agents to seasonal employees of tax services to your brother-in-law the accountant. And a growing number of people -- an expected 27 million this year -- are using some form of tax preparation software, either desktop or online. Add me to that list. While I’ve been writing about tax-preparation software for years, this was one computer program I was unwilling to test. Why? Because what if I made a … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:26 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292125-570/turbotax-offering-users-live-advice-via-phone-net.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292125-570/turbotax-offering-users-live-advice-via-phone-net.html <![CDATA[ Tips on being prepared in case you lose your job ]]>

Originally published: March 11, 2004 This isn’t the first “jobless recovery.” Economists always say the unemployment figures are a “lagging indicator.” Historically, hiring picks up only well after a recession has ended and business regains confidence about the future. Economists will also point out that our current unemployment rate is the lowest in nearly 30 years, and that more than 94 percent of those who want to work are gainfully employed. But all of that is small consolation if you -- or a member of your family -- can’t find work. Even worse, this time around, it’s not that people … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:26 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292124-570/tips-on-being-prepared-in-case-you-lose-your-job.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292124-570/tips-on-being-prepared-in-case-you-lose-your-job.html <![CDATA[ IRAs a great way to save money, defer taxes ]]>

Originally published: March 25, 2004 Every presidential election year has its economic themes. In 1992, James Carville famously coined the expression, “It’s the economy, stupid!” I’d like to propose a theme for the 2004 election: “It’s the spending, stupid!” The federal budget has gone from a surplus of $127 billion in 2001 (and a surplus of $236 billion in 2000) to this year’s Congressional Budget Office projection of a $477 billion deficit -- a flip of $713 billion in just four years. Congress is now debating next year’s budget, which is expected to show a huge increase in both spending … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:26 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292123-570/iras-a-great-way-to-save-money-defer-taxes.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292123-570/iras-a-great-way-to-save-money-defer-taxes.html <![CDATA[ Nanotech could be boon to our society, economy ]]>

Originally published: March 18, 2004 Nanotechnology. What is it? How close is it? Why are so many smart people talking about it? If you’re worried about the future of our economy, jobs, and the American way of life, spending a few minutes learning about nanotechnology will open your eyes to an astounding future -- a future worth saving and investing for! To understand nanotechnology, you have to think small. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, or a millionth of a millimeter. To make it even more impressive, a nanometer is 1/100,000th the size of a human hair. To … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:26 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292122-570/nanotech-could-be-boon-to-our-society-economy.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292122-570/nanotech-could-be-boon-to-our-society-economy.html <![CDATA[ Knowing why deficit will be up doesn’t take surplus of brains ]]>

Originally published: April 1, 2004 Every presidential election year has its economic themes. In 1992, James Carville famously coined the expression, “It’s the economy, stupid!” I’d like to propose a theme for the 2004 election: “It’s the spending, stupid!” The federal budget has gone from a surplus of $127 billion in 2001 (and a surplus of $236 billion in 2000) to this year’s Congressional Budget Office projection of a $477 billion deficit -- a flip of $713 billion in just four years. Congress is now debating next year’s budget, which is expected to show a huge increase in both spending … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:26 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292121-570/knowing-why-deficit-will-be-up-doesnt-take-surplus-of-brains.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292121-570/knowing-why-deficit-will-be-up-doesnt-take-surplus-of-brains.html <![CDATA[ Let’s clear up a couple misconceptions on tax cuts ]]>

Originally published: April 15, 2004 It’s income tax day -- the day of reckoning. Fortunes are spent trying to understand the tax code and file documents that accurately reflect taxes owed while attempting to legally minimize the amount that must be paid. In 2002, taxpayers spent an estimated 5.8 billion hours complying with the federal income tax code, according to the Tax Foundation. The total estimated cost of compliance was over $194 billion. That’s equivalent to a 20.4-cent surcharge for every $1 in taxes collected! The agony of filing a tax return is a subject for psychiatrists and punsters, as … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:26 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292119-570/lets-clear-up-a-couple-misconceptions-on-tax-cuts.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292119-570/lets-clear-up-a-couple-misconceptions-on-tax-cuts.html <![CDATA[ Reminders for taxpayers as deadline approaches ]]>

Originally published: April 8, 2004 There’s no place to run, no place to hide, and very few legitimate shelters. At tax time it’s difficult to avoid the consequences of your success. If you have too many deductions, you’ll get tripped up by the alternative minimum tax, once designed for the wealthy and now entrapping many two-income couples. With only one week left to complete your tax return, here are a few last-minute reminders. The three easiest tax shelters are your home, your children and your retirement plan. * Your retirement plan. Contributions you made to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:26 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292117-570/reminders-for-taxpayers-as-deadline-approaches.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2004/2292117-570/reminders-for-taxpayers-as-deadline-approaches.html