A little wisdom to help you fatten that bankroll

The Ticker

April 17, 1996|By JULIUS WESTHEIMER

WANT TO replace some cash that taxes withdrew from your bank account? Money-savers from Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, May: "Bypass banks for checks. Current Checks, Colorado Springs [(800) 426-0822] offers 200 checks for $5 plus $1.25 shipping. Average bank charge $15.45.

"Shop around for best auto insurance deal. Then knock another 10 percent off by raising deductible to $500.

"Ask home or auto insurer if you'd save money buying both policies from same company. Some firms offer such discounts.

"Contribute to an IRA, say $150 a month. Act as though you never earned the $150. You'll never miss it and, deductible or not, IRA money grows tax-deferred."

TAX TIDBITS: "Taxes grow without rain." (Old proverb)

"I'm proud to pay U.S. taxes, but I'd be just as proud for half the money." (Arthur Godfrey)

"There's progress. Average Americans pay almost as much taxes as they formerly got in wages." (H. L. Mencken)

"Where there is an income tax, the just man pays more and the unjust pays less on the same income." (Plato, 427-347 B.C.)

HOW MONEY MELTS: "One-third of people lose sleep over money. Not enough retirement savings, long-term health-care expenses and insurance worries keep us awake most." (Lutheran Brotherhood study)

"Bubbles can stay inflated a long time. We know this stock market bubble will burst eventually, but when?" (Worth, May, in the cover story, "Should This Market Be Trusted?")

HOW MONEY GROWS: "Average 1996 federal tax refund is about $1,200. Here is how $1,200 would grow in 30 years compounded if you invested it annually:

"At 4 percent $74,042; 6 percent $107,868; 8 percent $159,856; 10 percent $240,165." (Council of Life Insurance)

YIELD SIGNS: "Compare bond funds carefully. Many funds promote 12-month yield, not meaningful because it covers prior payouts. SEC 30-day yield is best measurement of current yield; be wary of funds that don't give it." (Physicians Financial News)

LOSING SLEEP? "If you worry about your broker, check out his or her disciplinary record by calling NASD's hot line [(800) 289-9999]. Also, scrutinize your account statements for trades you didn't authorize, excessive commissions, etc." (Money, May.)

ONLY 50 BUCKS: "If you add $50 a month to payment on a $100,000, 20-year mortgage at 7.5 percent, you will save $13,000 interest and retire the loan nearly 30 months early.

"Conventional wisdom holds you should put that $50 in higher-yielding investments, but Value Line disagrees, saying, 'Maybe you're not getting the best return, but you are guaranteeing a contribution to your net worth.' " (Kiplinger's, May)

MARYLAND MEMO: One of Maryland's largest, well-known industrial companies mailed a retired employee's $550,000 IRA rollover check to a local brokerage firm with the "Pay to the Order of..." line left blank.

ROUSE REMEMBERED: In the late 1950s, in his small, cluttered West Saratoga Street office, Jim Rouse said to me, "There's not much along Route 29 between Baltimore and Washington except farmland and a few houses. Some day I'm going to build a big city there." (I couldn't comprehend the magnitude of what he envisioned -- Columbia.)

WALL ST. WATCH: "The Dow up around 10 percent for the year to date. Only 1975 had a bigger percent 'up' change in the first four months of the year, but even that year was able to see more good gains." (Moneypaper, April)

"One encouraging sign: Steady decrease in bullish sentiment, a solid indicator of good health of this bull market." (Schaeffer on Sentiment)

"Smaller stocks will now do better than larger ones, a good signal that the average person's list will outperform the Dow Jones." (Moneypaper, April)

"Nobody reads annual reports anymore. Everybody wants to be an instant George Soros. Bernard Baruch never wanted to know what new schemes Wall Street concocted. He said they confused him." (Forbes, April 22)

"Long-term gold stock charts are still powerfully bullish." (LaLoggia's Special Situation Report, April 11)

"The key to stock profits is discipline: Buying only when numbers look good, selling as soon as they look bad." (Worth, May)

Pub Date: 4/17/96

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