October 9, 2013 |
During his news conference Tuesday about the fiscal standoff and the risks of a U.S. default, President Obama repeatedly cited Americans' experience with their mortgages to explain why you don't monkey with your credit rating. If you don't pay your mortgage, he said, you're a "deadbeat. " You'll find it harder to borrow in the future, and if you do get a loan, you'll be paying a higher rate. The problem is he's not being scary enough. The consequences of a government default are truly terrifying.
October 1, 2013 |
As pre-enrollment begins for Obamacare, Albert is exploring his options. He wants to know more about health savings accounts. Good idea. Health savings accounts, or HSAs, can be a good fit for some, but not for all. Basically, a health savings account is like an IRA for healthcare. Money you put into it isn't subject to federal taxes. It can also roll over from one year to the next if unspent. ASK LAZ: Smart answers to consumer questions If you withdraw money from an HSA for non-medical purposes, there are penalties.
July 23, 2013 |
In a blockbuster L.A. financial merger, Pacific Western Bank plans to acquire CapitalSource Bank, creating a robust regional bank with a national commercial lending arm - but wiping out a source of high-yield savings accounts for Southern Californians. CapitalSource had specialized in providing savings options for conservative investors, offering among the best rates in the country at a time when many institutions are paying virtually zero interest. The banks' parent firms, PacWest Bancorp and CapitalSource Inc., said late Monday that PacWest would pay CapitalSource shareholders about $2.3 billion in cash and stock.
July 10, 2013 |
Top Senate Democrats tried again Wednesday to push through a bill to extend for one year the just-expired 3.4% interest rate on some federal student loans. And predictably, the bill was blocked by a filibuster, with one Democrat and one Independent joining all 46 Republicans in opposition. The two camps are divided over whether to adopt a stopgap solution or a long-term one that shifts from fixed to adjustable rates. That divide seems too wide to be bridged before low- and moderate-income students start having to take out loans at the new interest rate.
April 12, 2013 |
President Obama's budget proposal included a number of proposals to increase tax revenue not by raising rates but by cutting back on tax breaks. The Wall Street Journal's editorial board singled out one such measure for ridicule Friday: a cap on an individual's tax-sheltered retirement accounts at "an amount sufficient to finance an annuity of not more than $205,000 per year in retirement, or about $3 million for someone retiring in 2013. " The board's members seem to think that people won't save for retirement unless they're given a tax break to do so. Perhaps they're right about that; the savings rate in this country is abysmal , and about three-quarters of the people nearing retirement age have less than $27,000 saved for their dotage, according to a 2010 study . But think about that statistic for a moment.
March 28, 2013 |
NEW YORK -- The broad Standard & Poor's 500 index broke a half-decade-old record, another sign of stocks' continuing rally this year. The S&P 500 added 6.34 points, or 0.41%, to 1,569.19 Thursday, the last trading day of the first quarter. The S&P 500 fell short of its all-time intra-day high of 1,576.09, however. The index reached its previous all-time closing of 1,565.15 on Oct. 9, 2007, only weeks before the Great Recession officially began. The next year's financial crisis led the stock market to its low in March 2009.