Think "The Apprentice" meets "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." Small-business owners now have their own reality makeover show, airing Saturday nights on the Learning Channel (TLC)--when else does the boss have time to watch TV? "Taking Care of Business" has its own team of entrepreneurial experts who will try to rescue a different small business every week.
There are 75 shopping days until Christmas, but Don Hodges, who manages the Hodges Fund, is already loading up. He's picked up some shares of Costco, Wal-Mart, Neiman Marcus and Sharper Image, positioning his four-star fund for what he hopes will be the profitable season to come. "Interest builds in retail stocks in the fall," he says. "Everyone watches with bated breath to see which ones look like they are doing well."Should you, too?
IBM retirees will get their cash, but what's it to you? It's too soon to tell. Last week IBM agreed to pay $300 million to settle old pension claims, and agreed to pay $1.4 billion more if a recent ruling, which struck down its "cash balance" pension plan, holds.Older IBMers said they were treated unfairly by the cash-balance plan, which tends to favor younger workers and job switchers.
Coming soon to a strip mall near your office: Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Last year the privately held firm opened a branch a day, topped the list of college-graduate recruiters and made serious inroads into the corporate market. "What they did was take a basic business and Starbuck-ize it," says Neil Abrams, a Purchase, N.Y., rental-car consultant. "They put one on every corner." With 12,000 new employees in two years, and branches within 15 minutes of 90 percent of the U.S. population, the company...
Online travel agents are wooing corporate managers with improvements that go way beyond what the typical vacation-planning consumers see on the Web. That's because travel management has become big business, as companies realize they waste too many resources letting their executive road warriors make their own reservations.
Money-market funds are coming to life after the Federal Reserve's repeated rate hikes. Average annual yields crossed the 1 percent mark last week and, for the first time since 2002, beat the average money-market rate paid by the banks, according to Peter Crane of iMoneynet.com.
The government is getting behind Wi-Fi for automobiles--and not because it wants to make sure you can IM your friends while zipping along the freeway. The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Transportation are supporting new technology that will allow cars and roadside devices to talk to each other in the interest of safety and traffic management.
It's a catch-22: you need a credit history to get a credit score, and you need a credit score to borrow money and build that history. Now Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that invented credit scoring, will give FICO grades to people without a credit history by looking at how responsibly they pay their bills and handle their bank accounts.
Giant lecture halls can be easier to navigate than those first credit-card bills. Some tips for new students:^ CampusEdge is a new checking account from Bank of America (bankof america.com) that comes with a Stuff Happens card that kids can use once to get an overdraft fee waived.^ MBNA offers a MasterCard through www.collegeparents.com that allows parents to set credit limits and peruse the charges, but lets students learn by paying the bills.^ Find the best rates and fees on student cards at...
BY LINDA STERN Rich Phillips has a wife, three kids and a need for health insurance that won't bust his budget. When the Austin, Texas, consultant left a salaried job last fall to start his own company, Phillips, 34, was getting quotes of about $1,000 a month to replace the policy offered by his former employer.
Rich kids have always had an easier route to college. But here's the news: the enrollment gap between the haves and the have-nots is getting worse, and leaders at the elite schools are taking notice. "We're losing one of every four really smart low-income kids," says Williams College president Morton Owen Schapiro, who has studied this issue for more than a decade.In 10 years, average college costs have stayed a fairly constant 6 percent of wealthy-family income, and climbed from 17 percent to...
You nailed your SAT--how hard can it be to balance your checkbook and manage a credit card? You'd be surprised. Learning how to budget while you're trying to find your classrooms and pay for books and football tickets out of that pittance you saved from your summer job is harder than it looks.
Crossing the pond this summer? at about $1.20 for every euro, that 190 hotel room in Paris is going to cost you at least $228. Here's how to get the best exchange rate:-Use only banks or American Express offices for changing your money, and avoid booths at airports, hotels and tourist attractions.-Pay for purchases with a credit card, but not just any card, since extra fees are common.