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[ College financial aid search must start now ]]>

Originally published: January 6, 2005 Looking for money? If you’re the parents of a high school senior, you’d better start your search right now -- this week -- or you’re likely to miss out on the more than $122 billion in student aid that will be handed out in the coming months. It’s first come, first served in the world of student financial aid, and with more than 13 million students applying each year, you have to act now before the money is gone. The first step is to fill out the FAFSA form: the Free Application for Federal Student … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:22 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291991-570/college-financial-aid-search-must-start-now.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291991-570/college-financial-aid-search-must-start-now.html <![CDATA[ Putting stock in commodities' future ]]>

"Get in before they're hot!" That's how Jim Rogers autographs his new book, Hot Commodities ($25.95, Random House, 272 pages). Rogers believes that commodities are in a long-term bull market that could last for 15 years or longer. Rogers' message was well-received in Chicago earlier this week where he joined the panel of experts at the annual Executives' Club Forecast luncheon. After all, Chicago is the home of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade. Even financial novices have heard of Jim Rogers, the legendary hedge fund manager who co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros, and then … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:21 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291988-570/putting-stock-in-commodities-future.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291988-570/putting-stock-in-commodities-future.html <![CDATA[ Reverse mortgage puts home equity to work ]]>

Originally published: January 20, 2005 Are you living beyond the income your retirement plan provides? If you’re like many seniors, your home is your largest asset, and although you shudder at the thought of borrowing on it, your house may be the only way to increase your income. But many seniors don’t qualify for home-equity loans based on income, and in any case, those home-equity loans require a monthly repayment, so they don’t solve your cash-flow problems. But a “reverse mortgage” may be the perfect solution. I’ve written before about reverse mortgages -- the simple way for seniors over age … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:21 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291986-570/reverse-mortgage-puts-home-equity-to-work.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291986-570/reverse-mortgage-puts-home-equity-to-work.html <![CDATA[ Free tax help for filers of the simple forms ]]>

Originally published: January 27, 2005 Tax time is always tough, but this year there’s something new. It’s quick, easy, and free tax help filing for those who file the short forms, either 1040A or 1040EZ. More than 54 million people file the short form each year, but no matter what the IRS calls it, the short form isn’t easy. In fact, the one-page 1040EZ form has 32 pages of instructions, and the 1040A packet comes with 64 pages of “help.” That’s why people pay professionals up to $120 to prepare these “short” returns. The short forms were designed for those … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:21 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291981-570/free-tax-help-for-filers-of-the-simple-forms.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291981-570/free-tax-help-for-filers-of-the-simple-forms.html <![CDATA[ Tax reform that would flatten the opposition ]]>

Originally published: February 3, 2005 Two months ago, right after the presidential election, I wrote a column about the possibility of tax reform. At the time, I said that while either the flat tax or national sales tax proposals deserved some consideration, it was highly unlikely that we’d have any meaningful tax reform because of the pressure that special interest groups would put on politicians of both parties. After all, I reasoned, why spend millions of dollars to get a candidate elected if he or she can’t do you some favors when it comes to writing tax bills? So, I … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:21 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291980-570/tax-reform-that-would-flatten-the-opposition.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291980-570/tax-reform-that-would-flatten-the-opposition.html <![CDATA[ Investigate alternatives to Social Security ]]>

Originally published: February 10, 2005 If you’re between the ages of 21 and 55, you’ve made a terrible investment -- and you continue to do so with every paycheck. I’m talking about Social Security, of course. Under the current system, you simply can’t get the promised benefits at the promised time. Or if you do get the dollars, they’ll be worth far less because of inflation. When you realize you’re caught in this losing deal, we’ll face Generation Warfare. Wouldn’t it be nice if we faced up to this inevitability now, and restructured the system to be more fair to … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:21 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291979-570/investigate-alternatives-to-social-security.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291979-570/investigate-alternatives-to-social-security.html <![CDATA[ Looming Social Security crisis demands action now ]]>

Originally published: February 17, 2005 If you’re between the ages of 21 and 55, you’ve made a terrible investment -- and you continue to do so with every paycheck. I’m talking about Social Security, of course. Under the current system, you simply can’t get the promised benefits at the promised time. Or if you do get the dollars, they’ll be worth far less because of inflation. When you realize you’re caught in this losing deal, we’ll face Generation Warfare. Wouldn’t it be nice if we faced up to this inevitability now, and restructured the system to be more fair to … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:21 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291975-570/looming-social-security-crisis-demands-action-now.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291975-570/looming-social-security-crisis-demands-action-now.html <![CDATA[ Real-time pricing online a boon to bond buyers ]]>

Originally published: February 21, 2005 There are three ways to lose money when you buy bonds. At least there were three dangers until last month. Now, one big problem has been solved, as you’ll see below. Most investors have only a vague idea that it’s possible to lose money in bonds. After all, when you buy a bond, you’re lending money to the issuer: a company or a unit of government. You’re a creditor, first in line, before the shareholders, if the company gets in trouble. But in an era of volatile interest rates and heavy trading, bonds can be … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:21 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291972-570/real-time-pricing-online-a-boon-to-bond-buyers.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291972-570/real-time-pricing-online-a-boon-to-bond-buyers.html <![CDATA[ IRAs deserve individual attention right now ]]>

Originally published: February 28, 2005 This is the season for Individual Retirement Accounts. It’s time to make your last-minute contribution for 2004 -- and open a new IRA for 2005. You can open a traditional IRA if you’re under age 701/2, and have earned income at least equal to the amount contributed. (Dividends, interest and rental income don’t count as earned income for IRA purposes.) Some people have had IRAs for 20 years now, and their original $2,000 investment is well on its way to becoming a significant part of a retirement portfolio. In fact, in 30 years of average … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:21 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291963-570/iras-deserve-individual-attention-right-now.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291963-570/iras-deserve-individual-attention-right-now.html <![CDATA[ Book can help you rival the Rockefellers ]]>

Originally published: March 7, 2005 Why is everyone making such a big deal out of IRAs when you can only contribute a relatively small amount every year? I’ll answer that: Because small amounts can grow into big fortunes over the years, especially if growth is tax-deferred. And if you don’t spend all of your IRA in your lifetime, that tax-deferred growth can extend for your children’s lives as well. That’s the premise of a new book by IRA expert Ed Slott, Parlay Your IRA Into a Family Fortune (Viking Adult, 320 pages, $24.95). At first glance, you might think it’s … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:20 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291954-570/book-can-help-you-rival-the-rockefellers.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291954-570/book-can-help-you-rival-the-rockefellers.html <![CDATA[ Reading up on scams, debt, long-term care ]]>

Originally published: March 14, 2005 Publishers routinely send me copies of money-related books, and I’m whitling down the stack today. I have a feeling that the best read business book of the season will be Ponzi’s Scheme by Mitchell Zuckoff (Random House, $25.95), a fascinating biography of the legendary swindler whose name is synonymous with financial scams. A Ponzi scam is one in which investors are promised extravagant returns, and the promise is kept -- for a while -- as the first investors are paid off with money put into the scheme by subsequent participants. Eventually, there aren’t enough new … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:20 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291948-570/reading-up-on-scams-debt-long-term-care.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291948-570/reading-up-on-scams-debt-long-term-care.html <![CDATA[ Pass bankruptcy bill, but remember debtors ]]>

Originally published: March 21, 2005 By now you’ve heard a lot about the rewrite of the federal bankruptcy act that the U.S. Senate has approved and sent to the House. President Bush has said he will sign the controversial bill if it reaches his desk. The bill would make it more difficult for debtors to wipe their slate clean through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, and many of the 1.6 million Americans who file for bankruptcy every year would be forced to file under Chapter 13, which requires a partial repayment to creditors. The bill has created significant debate about … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:20 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291944-570/pass-bankruptcy-bill-but-remember-debtors.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291944-570/pass-bankruptcy-bill-but-remember-debtors.html <![CDATA[ HSAs offer option for those without insurance ]]>

Originally published: April 4, 2005 Health Savings Accounts are the most promising way to deal with the issue of rising health care costs and the growing number of uninsured Americans. But too many people don’t understand what they are or where to sign up for them. Now there are some easy answers. Health Savings Accounts are a concept that combines a high-deductible health insurance policy and a tax-favored savings account. Together they cover you against catastrophic medical expenses, while allowing you to choose your physician, and save the money you don’t spend paying for health care. Here are the two … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:20 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291942-570/hsas-offer-option-for-those-without-insurance.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291942-570/hsas-offer-option-for-those-without-insurance.html <![CDATA[ Window of opportunity on student loans ]]>

Originally published: March 28, 2005 It’s always difficult to graduate into the reality of paying down student debt and at the same time starting to save for your future. In fact, at a starting salary it might appear that it’s impossible to do one, if not both, of those financial tasks. But instead of hiding from the challenge, facing up to it right away can make your task a lot easier. The first step is to deal with student loans. Many students graduate with greater student loan debt than their parents took on as a mortgage for their first home! … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:20 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291941-570/window-of-opportunity-on-student-loans.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291941-570/window-of-opportunity-on-student-loans.html <![CDATA[ Series EE bonds about to lose their appeal ]]>

Originally published: April 11, 2005 At this time of year, I traditionally write a column about last-minute tax tips, but first an important bulletin for everyone who buys Series EE savings bonds: The federal government is dramatically changing the rules on Series EE bonds. The Treasury has announced that the interest rate paid on Series EE bonds purchased after May 1 will no longer be changed every May and November to keep up with prevailing rates on Treasury notes. Instead, for new bond purchasers, the rates will be fixed for the 30-year life of the bond. So, for all those … ]]> Fri, 03 May 2013 12:14:20 -0500 http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291940-570/series-ee-bonds-about-to-lose-their-appeal.html http://www.suntimes.com/business/savage/savage2005/2291940-570/series-ee-bonds-about-to-lose-their-appeal.html