Another opportunity to guess Dow's level at a special moment

The Ticker

August 21, 1996|By Julius Westheimer

WHERE DO YOU think the Dow Jones industrial average closed on the day President Clinton was born 50 years ago Monday -- Aug. 19, 1946? Read on.

But first, mail me a postcard with your answer to: P.O. Box 1796, Baltimore 21203, and I'll send biographies of top stock-picker Warren Buffett to first three closest readers.

START EARLY (1): "Start stowing $100 a month in a tax-deferred retirement plan when you're 25 and you'll have almost $350,000 at 65, with an 8 percent return. But begin at 35 and you'll have only $149,000." (Cosmopolitan, August.)

(Note: An 8 percent return is 2 percentage points lower than the annual average stock return over 50 years.)

START EARLY (2): "The sooner you build up compound investment returns, the less you'll have to adjust your lifestyle to assure a comfortable future. The first step: Make full use of tax-favored retirement plans." (David Rhine, wealth planning specialist.)

TAKE THE MONEY: "Once you reach age 62 -- the earliest age at which you can get Social Security benefits -- you must decide whether to tap into the system or wait.

"If you need income, apply for benefits even though your checks will be only 80 percent of what you'd get if you waited until age 65.

"And if you're a 'good saver,' taking money early and investing it wisely quickly erases shortfall created by delaying higher checks." (Kiplinger's Magazine.)

BALTIMORE BEAT: "Franco Harris' Immaculate Reception: Can He Return Parks Sausage Co. to Glory?" is the optimistic cover story in Black Enterprise, September. ("Celebrated ex-Pittsburgh Steeler scores last-minute touchdown with $10 million purchase of Parks," the story says.)

BITS & PIECES: "Kinko's Inc. got its name from the nickname of Chairman Paul Orfalea, given him in childhood because of his curly red hair." (Business Week, Aug 19.)

"If you're not going to use your hotel minibar, refuse to accept key and insist hotel note this fact on your guest record." (Consumer Reports.)

On the day President Clinton was born 50 years ago day before yesterday, the Dow Jones average closed at 200.19.

GUARD YOUR MONEY: "Before you change jobs, be sure to protect money in your 401(k) plan. Find out if you can leave your money in your old company's plan. If not, roll funds into your self-directed IRA." (Barbara Quint, author, in Glamour.)

"If you inherit IRA assets from a deceased spouse, you can: (1) Take lump-sum payout of IRA funds and pay tax on it. (2) Leave money in IRA and take annual distributions based on deceased spouse's expectancy. (3) Roll inherited IRA into your own plan." (Harold Evensky, investment adviser.)

INSURANCE IDEAS: "If you're like most people, you'd rather have a root canal than research insurance costs -- home, car, life, disability, etc. Here's how to search for lowest rates:

"(1) Shop around; call at least three companies for estimates. (2) Let companies compete for your business; give firms' estimates to competitors, give them chance to offer lower premium. (3) Beware of convincing sales pitches for features you don't need." (Family Circle, Sept. 1.)

BALTIMORE & BEYOND: This week's (Aug. 19) Barron's has a cover story: "Executives luxuriate in box seats of new palaces, but taxpayer gets stuck with the bill. Sweet deals for owners in Cleveland, St. Louis, Baltimore."

"If you want to launch a 'retirement business,' start it now, before you have to depend on it. Also, set up a SEP or Keogh, closest thing to 401(k) for self-employed people." (Fortune, Aug. 19.)

"Wall Street's nightmare is huge rush into mutual funds could suddenly turn into reverse stampede -- bringing long bull market to an end." (Business Week, Aug. 19.)

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST: "The strongest growth job opportunities now are: computers, hotel/motel, leisure, recreation." (Lehman Bros.)

"If you're 'downsized,' but leave on good terms, ask your employer to hire you as a free-lancer. Maybe the firm needs help finishing a project, etc." (Money, August.)

"Beware those new 'debit cards.' If they're misused, your bank accounts could be cleaned out before you notice card is missing." (Forbes, Aug. 26.)

Pub Date: 8/21/96

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