Auto prices are up, but interest rates on new-car loans are at a three-year low, according to 100 Highest Yields, a Florida newsletter.
The national average for a four-year loan is 11.09 percent, down from 12.29 percent in January, the newsletter said.
But don't expect to save much money. At the current rate, a $12,000 loan would require a monthly payment of $310.17. At 12.29 percent, the payment would be $317.72.
The $7-a-month difference would equal about one car payment over the life of the loan.
If you want real savings, shop for rates that are below the national average. They shouldn't be hard to find.
Filing a tax return doesn't get much easier than this: Beginning January, about 1 million people in Ohio will be able to do it by phone.
The Internal Revenue Service is testing a new system called TeleFile. It will be limited to Ohio residents who file form 1040EZ and whose names and addresses match the federal tax-package label.
A TeleFile user will call a toll-free IRS number and use a push-button phone to enter Social Security number, wages, interest and tax withheld. During the call, the IRS will figure the caller's adjusted gross income and any refund or balance due, and report those amounts to the taxpayer. Each call should last about five minutes.
If the test is successful, the system might be expanded.
The No. 1 rule of investing is: Never buy something you don't understand. Yet many people invest in mutual funds without fully knowing how they work.
The Franklin Group of Funds has a free brochure that explains the ins and outs of mutual-fund investing. It also has a glossary of key terms.
To get a copy, call (800) 342-5236. If you call, the company might ask you a few questions, too. It's all part of Franklin's marketing program.