Jane Bryant Quinn

Something New In Market Risk

In a risky stock market, what's your worst nightmare? How about losing far more money than you put up? How about losing it when you didn't even know you were at risk?

Next Big Issue:Heir Rights

Q: After my husband died, I called Charles Schwab for the forms I needed to liquidate his $33,600 IRA and roll the proceeds into an IRA at a bank. But the so-called distribution-election form that I received allows only for a rollover to a new Schwab account.

How's Your 401(K) Today?

The sagging stock market hasn't yet scared the 35 million workers who contribute to company 401(k) plans. You keep making regular investments to your plan's various mutual funds.

The New Buzz In Planning

If I said that life was uncertain, you'd nod. If I added that it's smart to keep your options open, you'd nod again. But when you make money decisions, you often forget these simple truths.

Wave The Bubble Goodbye

Over the past 10 years, investors have fallen into the mass delusion that stocks are safe. That is, safe when held for the long term, with "long term" redefined.

A New Index Revolution

I'm feeling a bit like little Miss Muffet. A spider has suddenly sat down beside me, and I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I'm not running away. This Spider is pretty interesting.

Planning: The Next Stage

Fif--, uhn, fift--, arghhh! Here's another f word I can't say. As for the next higher number, forget it. The older I get, the more I learn to love denial.

Fighting The Cookie Monster

When browsing the web or flaming a chat room, you may imagine you're unseen. Your clever user name is thought to be freedom's tool. As the joke goes, "On the Internet, they don't know you're a dog."So how come marketers are flashing ads for flea collars on your screen?

Ipos: Jumping Over The Moon

You can hear them mustering in the streets, waving banners, shaking fists and shouting "I want my IPO." Investors see easy money being made, and expect a cut.

How To Ride The Wave

You have to remember that I'm not a pessimist. I don't smell flowers and look around for a coffin. Investors in the most tightly wound tech stocks and dot-coms are seeing their lives pass before their eyes, as prices plunge.

The Boom And The Bubble

Have investors gotten any smarter, thanks to all the practice we've had? I dunno. We talk the talk, like a bunch of mini Peter Lynches. But that doesn't mean we walk the walk.

Investing: More For The Money

Mmmm, Santa, cool. You know just what to put in a girl's millennial Christmas stocking. Stock trading, absolutely free. And under the tree, money savers from stockbrokers, newly willing to do almost anything to catch a good client's eye.

Blowing The Whistle At Pru

What's the best way of righting a massive financial wrong? I'm thinking of the dishonest life-insurance selling that stained the 1980s and early 1990s. Several insurers settled national class-action lawsuits--among them New York Life, John Hancock, Transamerica Occidental Life and Prudential Life.

Who's Afraid Of Year 2K?

Y2K pessimists are approaching their moment of truth. In seven weeks the world will, or will not, run into more trouble than most people think. Investors will, or will not, suffer last-minute jitters as the millennium draws near.Yes, yes, I know--it's not yet the millennium, from a technical point of view.

The American Funny-Money Pie

Q: I'm living at home, taking classes and waiting on tables full time. I've been able to get a major department-store charge card, but the bank cards turn me down.

The Megabucks Marts Arrive

Financial institutions will never be the same again. Under the modernization bill, which the Congress will probably pass this week, banks, insurance companies and brokerage firms can fuse themselves, freely, into colossal MegaBucks Marts.

Making Money Last For Life

Personal finance's cutting edge is moving into new territory. As always, it follows the arc of the boomer generation--America's largest market, ever. And the first group of ever-young boomers is starting to look a little bit (whisper this)...

The Color Of Money: Green

Q: I've been thinking of starting an IRA for my 25-year-old daughter. She has strong feelings about supporting socially progressive companies. Can you help me find some mutual funds that share her goals?

Inheriting: Don't Blow It

Many a baby boomer has a single retirement strategy: inherit the money. That's not an unreasonable idea. Thanks to America's sturdy economic growth, the older generation holds a vast amount of wealth.

You're A Big Winner! (Not)

Some 43 million Americans heard from the sweepstakes giant, the Publishers Clearing House, in recent weeks. But alas, not from the Prize Patrol, bringing big winners their champagne, flowers and $10 million checks.

Is A Backlash Brewing In Ltc?

Boomers, dears, I know you hate to remember that you're middle-aged. But what else could be fueling your growing obsession with long-term care? Maybe your parents are on your mind.

Trust In Me?(Um, Maybe Not)

Q: I want to invest about $50,000 in the stock market for the fun of it, to watch my choices go up (or down). I watch Charlie Rose and was impressed by the Yahoo!

The Spies In Your Pocket

When we worry about who might be spying on our private lives, we usually think about the Feds. But the private sector outdoes the government every time. It's Linda Tripp, not the FBI, who's facing charges under Maryland's laws against secret telephone taping.

Better Deals For Students

Competition--beloved by all right-thinking Americans--is slashing the cost of federal student loans. Upfront fees have come down, and borrowers can find special deals on interest rates.

Dumb Luck On Wall Street

When dummies score in the stock market, it's a hazard to everyone else's wealth. They're not really dummies, of course. They're friends and neighbors who bought winning tickets (soaring stocks) for Wall Street's greatest lottery ever.

How Good Is Your Plan?

You say you have a retirement plan? a broker or planner ran your financials through a computer and told you how much you ought to save? Or maybe you did your own plan, using one of the automatic calculators on the Web.

A Mix For All Seasons

So, is it dumb to diversify? Every investor knows the mantra: spread your money over different types of investments--big stocks, small stocks, internationals, bonds... "BONDS?" you yelp. "What a bummer!

Some Savings Surprises

For regular IRAs, your tax benefits runneth over. But keep your Roth in hand.Either gift gets money out of your estate. That reduces your estate tax, if you're worth enough to owe it.

No, Mama, Don't Trade

Forget soccer moms. They've all become money moms, itching to get rich. Feeding their dreams is some of the most shameless advertising I've ever seen, from online brokers who pretend that piling up stock-market profits is as easy as pie.

The Privateers On Parade

The stumbling block, for any acceptable plan to fix Social Security, appears to be private investment accounts. Key members of Congress want them included when the system is reformed.

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