Tax refund is an opportunity for good investment


March 27, 1996|By Julius Westheimer

WONDER WHAT to do with your tax refund check? Today, we present suggestions from "Top Places To Put Your Tax Refund," in Money, April:

"Pay off credit card debt (average interest 17.7 percent). Buy international mutual funds; this is good year to start. Buy into dividend reinvestment plans. Send in extra-large mortgage payments. Get kids started investing, possibly in Young Investor's Fund (800-338-2550).

"Invest in yourself; take courses to help your career. Get 'energy audit' of your house to save money. Buy several hours of an accountant's time, possibly reducing withholding so you can stash more in your 401(k) instead of making more 'interest-free loans' to Uncle Sam."

SPRING SUGGESTIONS: "Check your 'umbrella' catastrophe insurance policy for leaks. Is your business covered, for example? How about injuries to you by an uninsured motorist? See your insurance person for other leaks." (Forbes)

"You'll pay something for disability insurance, sure, but don't pass it up. It's a major income source if you're sick, injured or can't work for awhile." (Good Housekeeping, Feb.)

THIS WEEK: To read the "downside" of bull market investing -- and to protect yourself from future pitfalls -- buy the April 1 Business Week ($2.95) and read its chilling cover story, "The Fall of the Wizard of Wall Street: Julian Robertson Built the 'Super Bowl' Team of Investing. So Why Did His Magnificent Record Turn Sour?"

DEADLINE NEARING: "Cut 1995 tax tab -- now! If you worked last year, you can put up to $2,000 in an IRA, until April 15, 1996. Deduct that from 1995 income if you're not covered by a retirement plan such as 401(k). If covered, you can take deduction if your income is under $35,000 if you're single, below $50,000 jointly." (Black Enterprise, April)

TRAVEL TIP: When traveling abroad, carry photocopy of your passport in separate place from the original. If you lose your passport, a duplicate copy makes replacement easier. It's legal to copy it.

EXECUTIVE SUITE: "When making a decision, don't let trying to achieve consensus paralyze your company." (William Pope, founder, VeriFone, in Inc. Technology, March)

"Big changes to big things is how you build a business. The CEO must articulate that message because change is unsettling, risky and brings failure as well as success. The CEO must provide a safety net." (Roger Enrico, CEO, PepsiCo, in Fortune, April 1)

STAY ALIVE! "Business people, simple ways to exercise: Instead of looking endlessly for a parking space, take the first space, walk rest of the way Use stairs instead of elevators Buy a bike, now that spring is here Trade jobs with your son: mow grass, walk dog Awaiting flight departure, walk briskly around the airport." (Vital Interests, published by Merck)

TOUCHING ALL BASES: "Ed Borsuk sends out one resume as soon as a job opening is posted and another one later, when the submissions have slowed to a trickle, hoping it will get noticed.

"What's it going to cost you?" he asks, "Another copy of your resume and a stamp." (Fortune, April 1, $4.50, from its 40-page, worthwhile cover story, "How Safe is Your Job? Are You Next? Ways to Avoid the Ax. What to Do When it Falls.")

WALL ST. WATCH: (In proportion received). "The stock market party is over. Bonds peaked in January, and suffered a big decline since then. Stocks usually follow the lead of bonds." (Mutual Fund Timing Guide)

"This market scares me. It's a once-or-twice-in-a-century mania. Masses of people who never went into stocks are pouring their life blood in mutual funds. Where were all these people when stocks were low?" (Crawford Perspectives)

"Prudent strategy is to maintain a healthy exposure to stocks. The industrial and transportation averages reconfirmed the bull market." (Dow Theory Forecasts)

"In a slow-growth economy, drug stocks should shine because people still take their medicine." (Physicians Financial News)

Pub Date: 3/27/96

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