A Halloween helping of financial tricks, treats

The Ticker

October 27, 1995|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

APPROACHING Halloween, some financial tricks and treats:

STOCK TREATS: "Stocks outperformed bonds in 91 percent of the 20-year periods between 1802 [no misprint] and 1992." (Professor Jeremy Siegel, author, "Stocks for the Long Run")

Also, stocks were big winners recently. If you invested $1,000 in 1986, here are results: In stocks (Wilshire 5000 index), $3,000; Treasury bonds, $2,000; T-bills, $1,600; portfolio of "typical" investor, $1,900. (Data from Forbes, Oct. 23)

NO TRICKS, PLEASE: "Make sure your employer actually forwards your contributions to your 401(k) plan. Sloppy bookkeeping and carelessness can cost you money. Match your printout with your firm's records." (Avery Neumark, accountant)

CRUNCHING LEAVES: Some "Best Jobs for the Future," in U.S. News & World Report's Oct. 30 cover story include: international accountant, human resources professional, software engineer, computer animator, investment manager, food service manager, medical internist for infectious diseases, genetic researcher, corporate sales representative, computer security expert.

WITCHES' BREW: "It pays to haggle. Discount, department, even fine specialty stores, will negotiate better prices if you ask. Move away from other customers, ask the sales clerk for best price on a particular item. If he/she can't or won't help, ask for the manager." ("Penny Pinching," by Barbara Simmons, $4.99.)

CANDY CORN: "You Must Get What You're Due When You Change Jobs" is worthwhile in Money (November).

Highlights: "Avoid health insurance gaps 'Max out' your 401(k) Shelter pension funds Check on stock options Get all the pay you're owed Try to up your severance pay Beware the long good-bye Check out with a smile."

GHOSTS & GOBLINS: "Many employees over 40 who leave their companies mistakenly use lump-sum 401(k) distributions to pay bills. Don't do that. If you're under 59 1/2 , penalties and taxes could equal 50 percent. Better: Move lump sum to an IRA rollover new 401(k). If you need money, take out a home-equity or 401 (k) loan." ("The Lump Sum Handbook," $14.95.)

HAUNTED HOUSE: This time of year, be careful not to buy a mutual fund before its year-end capital gain is declared. If you do, you'll pay capital gains tax on profits you never realized. See your broker for funds' capital gains dates. (This warning does not apply to IRA accounts, which are non-taxable.)

MARYLAND MOONLIGHT: These Maryland firms are listed and briefly described in the new Forbes (Nov. 6) cover story, "The World's Best Small Companies": Fusion Systems, Rockville; Micros Systems, Beltsville; Tessco Technologies, Sparks; Computer Data Systems, Rockville.

Tonight, "Wall Street Week With Louis Rukeyser" features AT&T stock, with panelists Eddie Brown, Maceo Sloan, Robert Stovall.

BGE appears under "10 Stocks To Consider" in Worth magazine, October. ("It's undervalued below $27.")

"The Young Investor Fund is great for introducing kids to investing. Up 21 percent since April, it's loaded with Coke, Disney, Wrigley's, etc. For a free computer game and introductory kit, telephone (800) 403-KIDS." (Personal Finance)

Companies with offbeat stock "ticker symbols" include: Bugaboo Creek Steak House: RARE Brassie Golf: PUTT American Sensors: SNIFF Anheuser Busch: BUD First Cash Corp.: PAWN Dynamic Materials: BOOM Gibraltar Steel: ROCK.

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