Jane Bryant Quinn

Quinn: Appointing Kids as Beneficiaries

Do you carry a life-insurance policy that protects your young children if you die? Most parents do—but there's a legal angle you need to think about. Minor children can't receive money directly or open a bank or investment account to handle the policy's proceeds.

Quinn: The Nasty World of Subprime Credit Cards

In recent weeks, you've heard plenty about the sleazy side of the subprime mortgage business. Rising numbers of borrowers are losing their homes after being lured into high-cost mortgages they couldn't afford.

Capital Ideas

When you work with a stockbroker or other financial adviser, you're supposed to be paying for performance: The broker earns a commission; in return, you're supposed to get good advice.

Quinn: Try to Relax—Enjoy the Ride

Omigosh, what does it mean? are we in for it? A recession? Just when investments finally looked good again? How can anyone trust the market? "Frank, I told you to sell those stocks!"Cool it, friends.

Capital Ideas

You've probably read that investors usually don't do as well as the mutual funds they buy. The reason is simple. You buy, or add to, successful funds after they've started zooming in value, not before.

Escape From The Money Pit

This could be your magic moment to save some serious money. The mortgage you chose during the heady housing boom may soon cost you more per month than you really need to pay.

A Great ' 06. Now for ' 07.

HOME VALUES SINKING. OIL PRICES SCARY. DEBT MOUNTAIN-HIGH. IRAQ AFIRE. Gotta sell stocks and crawl into a hole, right? Wrong, as it turned out. I just quoted some of the headlines of 2006, which, after a bumpy start, turned into a great year for almost every investor.

Giving Freely --And Wisely

They're out to get you--the nonprofits, I mean. In any year, charities may collect half the money they'll get from individuals in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year.

Taxes 2006--Win Some, Lose Some

Before turning to your taxes this year, buy a pick, shovel and miner's lamp. You'll have to dig for the few tax-saving nuggets added to the code. Your big plus continues to be the broad rate cuts of recent years.

Making Your Grass Greener

Kermit the frog should love it. Everybody wants to be green. Now it's the real-estate industry, out to save energy, save the planet and save money for their clients.

The Economic Perception Gap

Talk about being in denial. President Bush thought that voters should credit him for a great economy, even if they opposed the war. Just look at the numbers: low unemployment, low inflation, record profits, taxes down, stocks up.

Capital Ideas

Have you been saving money for college (or any-thing else) in your children's names? You used to get a tax break, but no more. A federal law passed in May raised the potential taxes on these accounts, as of last Jan. 1.

Capital Ideas

Have you been saving money for college (or any-thing else) in your children's names? You used to get a tax break, but no more. A federal law passed in May raised the potential taxes on these accounts, as of last Jan. 1.

As Kids Grow, So Do Risks

Young adulthood isn't what it used to be. Children tend to linger. They're staying in college longer, often taking five or six years to finish. They're boomeranging home after graduation because they're in debt or can't afford a place of their own.

Capital Ideas

Dividends matter! That may be one of the reasons that the Dow Jones industrial average (of 30 leading stocks) is hitting new highs while the broader market lags.

Money Matters

Your home is more than your castle, it's your ace in the hole. If you haven't saved enough for retirement, you figure that you can live on the equity you've built up.

Capital Ideas

Memo to those who think it's OK to pay fees of 3 percent or more for tax-deferred annuities and other investments: in terms of purchasing power, those fees will eat up most--or all--of your future gains.

Building a Better 401 (k)

Finally, you can hope for a 401(k) that really works. Works for you, that is, not for the suits that put it together. Most of the plans today assume that you have the time and interest to train as an investment ace--quick to pick the perfect mix of stocks and bonds.

Capital Ideas

You may remember that employee stock options were supposed to make everybody rich. Well, they made some people rich who hit the market right and exercised their options in time.

Capital Ideas

For everyone who owns, or will inherit, a company retirement plan, a huge roadblock has been cleared away. In the past, only your spouse got a tax break if he or she inherited the account.

Retirement: Cracking Open The Nest Egg

When you think about retiring, you run your mind over your "pile"-- the savings and investments that you're building up. But the size of your pile represents only potential security, not security itself.

Prepay Your Way to College

How have your investments done since the 2000 market bust? Up 40 percent? Probably not. But I'll tell you where you might have gotten that kind of return: from a conservative, prepaid college-tuition plan--the type stockbrokers scorn but savers love.

A Debit-Card Nation

While the pundits wring their hands over the rise in credit-card debt, consumers are quietly finding another, less worrisome path. We're fast becoming a debit -card nation.

What We Need is Policy

Going green is fine, but it didn't stop drivers from hitting the road on the Fourth of July. Nor were they stopped by the high price of gasoline, despite all the screaming a couple of months ago.

A Requiem For Pensions

Younger workers would rather invest in 401(k)s (pensions carry a musty smell). At retirement, older workers often reject their plan's offer of a monthly income for life in favor of taking a lump sum to invest themselves.

Capital Ideas

Jack Guttentag is the scourge of the mortgage-lender market. A retired Wharton finance professor and mortgage expert, he thinks that too many mortgage brokers and loan providers overcharge by not disclosing costs.

Opportunity (Still) Knocks

Investors looked into the belly of the beast last week. The Federal Reserve made it pretty clear that it would raise short-term interest rates--again--at the end of this month.

Hedge Your Bets

If you're in a retirement plan that includes company stock, you owe Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay a vote of thanks. Due to their failures, 401(k)s are better today.

Capital Ideas

Here's an investment product you'd be smart to avoid: an "equity-indexed annuity" that promises safety combined with stock-market growth. Such a product does exist--it's called a "variable annuity" (for the pros and cons, see NEWSWEEK, May 8).