returns http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/222/all en-US 10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable http://www.wisebread.com/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_reading_newspaper_000076745113.jpg" alt="Man buying boring investments that are surprisingly profitable" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may seem fun to invest in companies that excite you. But there are few things more exciting than seeing share prices rise, even if the companies themselves are a real bore.</p> <p>If you want to make money in investing, it helps to forget about the sizzle factor. Because some of the weirdest or most boring investments are often the most profitable. Consider these 10 investments that aren't too exciting, but have shown great returns over time, or have recent good results worth watching. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-boring-investments-make-life-exciting?ref=seealso">4 Ways &quot;Boring&quot; Investments Make Life Exciting</a>)</p> <h2>1. Office Buildings</h2> <p>Is there anything less exciting than large square buildings or shopping centers? Think of the big malls or huge office parks that you'll often drive past in the suburbs. Boring, right? Well, if you invest in this type of real estate, you'll do okay &mdash; or better. There are many real estate investment trusts (REITs) that allow investors to buy shares, and they often pay some of the highest dividends on the market. Consider stocks like Federal Realty Investment Trust, now trading near its 52-week high and with a five-year return of nearly 90%.</p> <h2>2. Gambling Stocks</h2> <p>For a few years, casino stocks were getting crushed, in part due to problems with the gaming industry in China. But there is evidence that the industry has bottomed out and may be on the verge of rebounding. New resorts are planned in Las Vegas, Macau, and elsewhere that are expected to boost revenues for companies like Wynn [NASDAQ: WYNN], Las Vegas Sands [NYSE: LVS] and MGM Resorts [NYSE: MGM]. So if you don't have a moral objection to investing in these stocks, now may be the time to get in on the action.</p> <h2>3. Baking Soda and Condoms</h2> <p>Church &amp; Dwight [NYSE: CHD] may not be the sexiest investment out there. Or maybe it is. After all, it owns Trojan, which makes more condoms than anyone else. And it makes First Response, the popular pregnancy test (in case you forgot to use the Trojans). Church and Dwight also makes a lot of household products that Americans use every day, including Arm &amp; Hammer baking soda and OxiClean. Church &amp; Dwight reported record sales and profits in 2015. Shares are trading near a 52-week high and are up 10% in 2016.</p> <h2>4. An Old Newspaper</h2> <p>What? Investing in a newspaper? Okay, let's be clear. No one is getting rich quick by investing in the New York Times [NYSE: NYT]. But perhaps no news organization has done a better job of shifting its business model from print to digital, and its revenues show the results. The company reported $444 million in revenue during its most recent financial quarter, with a 48% increase in profit.</p> <h2>5. Botox and Viagra</h2> <p>Hey, it's easy to get rich on older people trying to stay young. Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, said last year it would merge with Allergan, the maker of Botox, to form the world's largest pharmaceutical firm. The merger has yet to be approved and has some critics, but the combined company could see a boost from efficiencies and a lower corporate tax rate (it would be based in Ireland).</p> <h2>6. Cigarettes</h2> <p>It's hard to believe that people still smoke, but Altria [NYSE: MO], the owner of Philip Morris and other tobacco-related companies, has offered strong returns to investors even as people became more aware of their product's risks. Altria has been a leader in developing e-cigarettes and other new products, and has reported growing sales and profits of more than $11 billion last year. Shares of the company are trading near a 52-week high.</p> <h2>7. Dollar Tree</h2> <p>How can you make huge profits, one dollar at a time? This company knows how. Dollar Tree [NYSE: DLTR] splurged and bought competitor Family Dollar last year, so it now owns nearly 14,000 stores in North America and is predicting more than $20 billion in sales in 2016. Investors were initially skeptical about the merger, but the company's stock price is now about $80, and some analysts think it will go above $90 by year's end as the benefits of the merger take shape.</p> <h2>8. Boxes and Packages</h2> <p>When was the last time you thought about the package an item comes in? Maybe never, right? Bemis Company has quietly served as one of the world leaders in packaging for food, electronics, and pharmaceuticals throughout North America, Central America, and Asia. It reported sales of more than $4 billion last year. Shares are up 17% to date and are trading near a 52-week high.</p> <h2>9. Paint</h2> <p>Investing in paint may seem as exciting as watching paint dry. But shares of companies that produce paint are actually quite profitable. Consider Valspar [NYSE: VAL] which just hit its highest price in a year and has been one of the stock market's most consistent performers for decades. Or Axalta, which recently got a $500 million investment from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. (Berkshire also owns Benjamin Moore paints.) Meanwhile, Sherwin Williams shares are up nearly 30% since last fall.</p> <h2>10. Environmental Testing Equipment and... Dental Technology</h2> <p>You will never hear much about what Danaher Corp. [NYSE: DHR] does, except generate good returns for investors. The company produces a wide array of industrial products including testing instruments, technology solutions for dentists, and even laser marking for product packaging. Despite a product line that won't make headlines, Danaher has been a consistently solid performer &mdash; $1,000 invested in Danaher stock 20 years ago would be worth $21,000 today.</p> <p><em>Are any of these dull, but winning, stocks in your portfolio? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-the-2000s">The 9 Best Performing Mutual Funds of the 2000s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year">10 Stocks That Are Actually Having a Good Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-everyone-should-know-about-the-commodities-markets">8 Things Everyone Should Know About the Commodities Markets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginner-s-guide-to-investing-in-frontier-markets">A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Frontier Markets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment boring stocks returns share prices stock market Tue, 12 Apr 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1686648 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Stocks That Are Actually Having a Good Year http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_growing_stocks_000048414830.jpg" alt="Man learning which stocks that are having a good year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The market greeted 2016 with the worst two-week start since the 1800s. Despite the market's overall troubles, however, there are some promising investments to be made right now. Read on for our guide to the hottest stocks of the moment. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-you-sell-a-stock-or-a-fund">10 Questions to Ask Before You Sell a Stock or a Fund</a>)</p> <h2>1. Burlington Stores</h2> <p>With 546 stores and a solid online presence, the off-price department store for coats, home goods, and clothes is growing. Burlington (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=BURL">BURL</a>) closed out 2015 with a value of just under $43. As of Feb. 20, the company's stock has risen to $54. Experts expect to see the company's profits soar upward of 18% in the fiscal year that ends in January 2017.</p> <h2>2. Macy's</h2> <p>America's iconic department store closed out 2015 valued at $35 per share. Macy's stock (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=M">M</a>) has since risen to more than $40, following a 2015 in which it had returns topping 15%.</p> <h2>3. Cabot Oil &amp; Gas</h2> <p>Cabot (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=COG">COG</a>) has risen two points since closing out 2015 with a value of less than $18 per share. The independent oil and gas company has been on an upward trend after dipping to $15 in early January.</p> <h2>4. Comcast</h2> <p>Comcast (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=CMCSA">CMCSA</a>) stock has risen 3% so far in 2016, though it more recently settled back down to $57 &mdash; the same value it held upon closing out 2015. In 2015, the company saw its top year for cable TV services in nearly a decade, which has forecasters predicting that the stock will do well again in 2016.</p> <h2>5. Eaton Corp.</h2> <p>The electrical systems maker Eaton Corporation (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=ETN">ETN</a>) jumped 4% in February after posting higher-than-expected earnings. Eaton is currently trading at $56.</p> <h2>6. Chipotle</h2> <p>To say that everyone's favorite burrito joint had a rough year is an understatement. Following a very public food safety scare, the Mexican grill's stock plummeted 40%, closing out 2015 just under $480. But in 2016, Chipotle's (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=CMG">CMG</a>) value has risen to $511 (as of February 20). Right now the stock is generally considered to be undervalued. For the patient investor, now is the time to buy-in cheaply and wait for continued growth.</p> <h2>7. Emerson Electric Co.</h2> <p>Emerson (<a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/emr">EMR</a>) stock value has risen one point since ending 2015 valued just under $48. The stock's annual dividend payment is currently an eyebrow-raising 4.4% &mdash; another shareholder perk.</p> <h2>8. Hormel Foods Corp.</h2> <p>Hormel (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=HRL">HRL</a>) stock hasn't spiked this high in years. The food company that makes SPAM is having a good moment, rising to $43 per share from $39 since the start of 2016.</p> <h2>9. Wynn Resorts</h2> <p>The high-end hotel operator is currently valued at $78 &mdash; up from $69 at the close of 2015. January was the Macau business's &quot;<a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/13457766/1/wynn-resorts-wynn-stock-spikes-on-q4-earnings.html">best month in a long time</a>,&quot; founder Steve Wynn said on a conference call. Adding to the momentum is Wynn's (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=WYNN">WYNN</a>) higher-than-expected 2015 fourth quarter adjusted earnings, released in mid-February.</p> <h2>10. EQT Corp.</h2> <p>EQT Corporation (<a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q;_ylt=AwrC1Cnp289WPzcApMSTmYlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--?s=EQT">EQT</a>), the largest natural gas producer in the Appalachian Basin, was valued at $52 at the close of 2015. So far in 2016, the stock has spiked to nearly $59 &mdash; a good sign for the months ahead.</p> <p><em>Are any of these stocks in your portfolio?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-the-2000s">The 9 Best Performing Mutual Funds of the 2000s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-everyone-should-know-about-the-commodities-markets">8 Things Everyone Should Know About the Commodities Markets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginner-s-guide-to-investing-in-frontier-markets">A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Frontier Markets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment growth hot stocks returns stock market upturn Mon, 07 Mar 2016 11:30:06 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1666377 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_money_bags_000035094952.jpg" alt="Investing tips you wish you could tell your younger self" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes I look back on my past as a young investor and want to kick myself. I didn't really know what I was doing back then, and made a number of mistakes that cost me money in the long run.</p> <p>I did learn a lot and truly enjoy investing and saving now. But I wish I could go back in time and offer my younger self a few bits of advice. Here's <em>my </em>list of investing tips to the &quot;young me&quot; that'll hopefully spare you the same mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Understand the Value of Compound Returns</h2> <p>Retirement is one of the last things you're going to think about when you've had hardly any time in the workforce. &quot;What? Retirement? I'm only 22!&quot; As crazy as it sounds, investing money in these early years is a crucial part of having a large nest egg upon retirement. The earlier you start investing, the more time that money has to grow. And with a long time horizon, you don't have to be overly concerned about the ups and downs of the market.</p> <h2>2. Familiarize Yourself With Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>If you have some money, it may be tempting as a young person to simply open a brokerage account and begin buying and selling. But it's important first to understand the basics of retirement accounts and the advantages they offer to investors. Individual Retirement Accounts (or IRAs), along with 401K plans can allow you to save for retirement and get great tax benefits along the way.</p> <h2>3. Don't Buy That Thing &mdash; Invest Your Money Instead</h2> <p>I cringe when I think about the useless stuff I bought when I was in my teens and twenties. Articles of clothing, music, movies, computer games, expensive meals with friends... I had a lot of fun, but I could have had as much fun living more frugally, and I think about how much money I'd have now if I'd bought stocks, instead. Even a small amount of money placed in an index fund at age 18 has the potential to grow into a substantial sum. I wish I could go back and tell my young self to put at least <em>some </em>of my spending money in an account that would build value for my future self.</p> <h2>4. Reinvest Those Dividends</h2> <p>As a young investor, I used to get dividend checks from companies that I owned shares of. And frequently, I would use that money to go and treat myself: a movie, a dinner out, a trip to a ballgame, a new pair of jeans. Little did I know that I could have used those dividends to easily buy more shares of a stock. Imagine the growth in a portfolio that is not only seeing share price growth, but an increase in the number of shares. This is also a great way to practice dollar cost averaging, because you are using dividends to buy more shares as prices fall and fewer shares as prices increase.</p> <h2>5. Don't Panic</h2> <p>When you are a new investor, it can be a startling thing to see stock values drop. It's very tempting to pull your money out of the markets when you see your investments lose value quickly. But I look back now on stocks that I sold in a panic, and really wish I had held onto them, as they all would have quickly rebounded in value and made me money over time.</p> <h2>6. Stop Checking Your Investments Every Day</h2> <p>Investments go up. They go down. They go up again. Tracking them each day really serves no purpose, and will only stress you out. By checking your portfolio only once a week or so, you'll be less tempted to buy or sell based on an emotional reaction to the market movements.</p> <h2>7. Don't Try to Pick Stocks</h2> <p>Admittedly, it's fun at first to pick a company you are familiar with, buy some shares of stock, and watch how they perform. It's actually not a bad way to get comfortable with how the stock market works. But if you want to make money long-term, trying to create a portfolio of individual stocks will ultimately be ineffective and perhaps even frustrating. You're much better off as a young person placing the bulk of your money into an index fund that tracks the S&amp;P 500 or total stock market. This will generate solid returns for years to come, and will require a lot less work.</p> <h2>8. Know What You're Investing In</h2> <p>I remember when I first began putting money in a 401K, and had the option to invest in a number of different mutual funds. I spread my money evenly across most of them, believing that it was a path to diversification. After some time, I began to research the holdings of each fund, and realized that many of them invested in the same big companies. It turns out that I wasn't &quot;diversifying&quot; at all. The lesson I learned is that before you invest your money, have a good idea of what you are investing in. Learn how to read mutual fund prospectuses and earnings reports.</p> <h2>9. Learn About Commissions, Fees, and Taxes</h2> <p>When I first began investing, I opened an eTrade account, invested in a few stocks, and left the account alone. About a year later, I got $50 deducted from my account for &quot;inactivity.&quot; Then I exacerbated the problem by selling the stocks in a panic and then incurring short-term capital gains taxes. Brokerage companies try to be transparent about fees and expenses, but it's up to the investor to understand that it costs money to buy and sell stocks. Mutual fund managers will take a cut of every dollar you invest, and there are tax implications every time you sell. None of this should be a deterrent to investing, but young people must have a good grasp of how it impacts the performance of their investment portfolio.</p> <h2>10. Take All of the Company Match</h2> <p>At my very first job, I invested money in the company 401K plan, but didn't feel like I was earning enough to reach a full company match. (The company matched contributions of up to 5% of salaries at the time.) Looking back, I realize that I probably left thousands of dollars on the table because I was too conservative. A company match is <em>free money </em>&mdash; you should always take it if you can. Those extra dollars could add up to a significant amount of money in your retirement account over time. Plus, the match encourages you to save more of your own money, and that's never a bad thing.</p> <h2>11. Don't Get Too Excited About Company Stock</h2> <p>Many companies offer company stock as part of their retirement plans. This is a nice perk, but young people in particular must understand that it's dangerous to put too much stock in their portfolio. Consider the plight of many Enron employees who lost nearly all of their retirement savings when the company went bankrupt in 2001. It's okay to keep some company stock, particularly if it's provided to you for free or you are allowed to buy it at at a discount. But make sure it comprises just a fraction of your overall portfolio. Having too much of your savings tied up in one stock &mdash; particularly one that is already responsible for your financial wellbeing &mdash; is dangerous.</p> <p><em>What investing lessons would you tell your younger self?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make">11 Investment Mistakes We All Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-your-financial-advisor-wishes-you-knew">7 Things Your Financial Advisor Wishes You Knew</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-invest-in-biotech-without-getting-burned">7 Ways to Invest in Biotech Without Getting Burned</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice fees mutual funds returns stocks younger self Tue, 16 Feb 2016 11:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1654016 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Best Stock Markets in the World in 2015 http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-stock-markets-in-the-world-in-2015 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-best-stock-markets-in-the-world-in-2015" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/global_economy_000050748806.jpg" alt="Finding the best stock markets in the world in 2015" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems sensible to invest primarily in U.S. stocks, because of their generally reliable returns, familiarity, and a sense of patriotism. But sometimes, getting big investment gains requires thinking more globally.</p> <p>Despite global economic problems, the stock markets of many countries have been on a tear. Which markets are seeing the biggest gains? Here are 10 to examine, along with a couple of honorable mentions.</p> <p>(Note that there are many countries that would have been on this list were it not for a large global selloff in August, triggered by concerns over the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-invest-in-china">growth of China's economy</a>.)</p> <h2>1. Argentina</h2> <p>It's a little strange, because Argentina's economy is not in particularly good shape, but the stock market in Buenos Aires is up more than 30% this year, in part due to optimism that October elections will help the country with its economic woes.</p> <h2>2. Hungary</h2> <p>This European nation has been in the headlines recently due to its response to the refugee crisis, but a series of economic reforms and some tax changes have helped spur the Hungarian economy faster than any other nation in the European Union. The <a href="https://bse.hu/">Budapest Stock Exchange</a> is up 27% since the start of 2015.</p> <h2>3. Jamaica</h2> <p>The small island is home to some of the fastest sprinters &mdash; and one of the fastest-growing economies, after years of tepid growth and debt problems. The nation has also been helped by a campaign to urge Jamaicans living elsewhere in the world to invest in the Jamaican stock market. The <a href="http://www.jamstockex.com/">Jamaica Stock Exchange Market Index</a> is up more than 27% this year.</p> <h2>4. Iceland</h2> <p>It's been hailed as one of the better economic turnaround stories in recent memory. The nation that was burned by the financial crisis is now back, with a 26% rise in its stock market this year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the devaluing of currency during the financial crisis actually helped Iceland recover faster.</p> <h2>5. Denmark</h2> <p>The Danish currency has fallen in value, so stocks are up due to the ease of selling Danish products abroad. The <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/KFX:IND">Copenhagen 20 Index</a>, which tracks the top Danish blue chip stocks, is up 25% this year.</p> <h2>6. Ireland</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.ise.ie/Market-Data-Announcements/Indices/">Irish Stock Market Overall Index</a> has seen a 22% bump in 2015, thanks to a surging economy that has seen more than 6% growth in gross domestic product in each of the first two quarters of the year.</p> <h2>7. Botswana</h2> <p>This landlocked African country has been hailed as a model of economic growth, with money coming from diamonds, minerals, tourism, and now even retail. The <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/BGSMDC:IND">Botswana Gaborone Index</a>, which tracks companies based in Botswana, is up 13% in 2015.</p> <h2>8. France</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/CAC:IND">CAC 40 Index</a>, which tracks top French stocks, was doing tremendously up until the middle of August, when the most recent global downturn took place. The Index was up nearly 40% but fell back to its current level of about 9% growth in 2015.</p> <h2>9. Russia</h2> <p>Despite sanctions and war, the Russian economy has grown in 2015, and investors have made out well. The nation's <a href="http://www.micex.com/marketdata/quotes">MICEX Index</a> showed a 23% rise since a low point at the start of the year.</p> <h2>10. Pakistan</h2> <p>If you like roller coaster rides, you'll enjoy the performance of the Karachi <a href="http://www.kse.com.pk/">KSE100 Stock Exchange</a>. The market lost 20% of its value in February and March, but rebounded to give investors a solid 5% return on the year.</p> <h2>Honorable Mentions</h2> <p>These two markets didn't quite make the cut, but they've done well, too.</p> <h3>Portugal</h3> <p>If you began investing in Portuguese stocks at the start of 2015, you got in at a good time. The <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/PSI20:IND">PSI 20</a>, which tracks the main Portugal-based companies, hit a trough in January and was up 30% by April. It's come back to Earth a bit since, but is up 4% this year.</p> <h3>Vietnam</h3> <p>The <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/VNINDEX:IND">Ho Chi Minh Stock Index</a> has been up and down in 2015, rising 18% in the first half of the year before dropping in the last two months. It's still up 4% this year.</p> <p><em>Do you invest in any of these booming markets? How has your portfolio performed?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-best-stock-markets-in-the-world-in-2015">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cheap-international-vacation-destinations">5 Cheap International Vacation Destinations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/americans-spend-more-than-other-countries-on-these-10-things">Americans Spend More Than Other Countries On These 10 Things</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year">10 Stocks That Are Actually Having a Good Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Asia Europe foreign stocks global stock markets market growth returns South America Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:00:54 +0000 Tim Lemke 1570305 at http://www.wisebread.com Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401K Fees http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_nest_egg_000006292825.jpg" alt="Learning which 401K fees to look out for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No matter how diligent you are at socking away money into your 401K, you could still be contributing less than you think, thanks to hidden fees and plan costs. According to a study from AARP, about three in five Americans are unaware of how much they're paying in <a href="http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/econ/401k-fees-awareness-11.pdf">401K plan fees</a>.</p> <p>Excessive 401K fees can eat away your returns. Let's assume that a worker invests $5,000 every year over a 35-year period in a 401K plan with an annual return of 4.9%. She would end up with $423,000 at the end of period assuming an annual fee of 0.5% of the total balance, and with $345,000 at the end of the period assuming an annual fee of 1.5% of the total balance.</p> <p>To claim back control of your retirement account, here are five 401K&nbsp;fees to look out for.</p> <h2>1. 12b-1 Fee</h2> <p>Owing its name to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Rule 12b-1, a 12b-1 fee is a charge from a mutual fund to cover marketing, distribution, and administration expenses.</p> <p>The original intent with this rule was to encourage mutual funds to invest in marketing so that more people would buy into the mutual fund. In theory, the more assets that a mutual fund can buy, the better the economies of scale. Unfortunately, the empirical evidence from the SEC shows that mutual funds with 12b-1 fees have higher expense ratios than those without those fees, and that the services rendered to earn the fees don't enhance the fund's performance.</p> <p>By law, 12b-1 fees can range between 0.25% and 1% of a fund's net assets. Given that these fees have shown no benefit to investors, you should try to choose funds that don't charge 12b-1 fees at all. If all your available investment options charge such a fee, go with the one that charges closest to the minimum 0.25%.</p> <h2>2. Redemption Fee</h2> <p>A front-end load is one of many sneaky <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for">investment fees to watch out for</a>. Front-end load funds have such a bad rap that many investment firms have started advertising no-load fund options.</p> <p>However, there can be a catch. While no-load funds won't charge you for loading shares, those funds can charge you a fee for unloading your shares too soon. Known also as an exit fee, back-end load, or contingent deferred sales charge, a redemption fee is applied to an investor that exits a fund too soon. How soon is too soon? The minimum holding period ranges from 30 days to one year, so make sure to check your fund's prospectus.</p> <p>Here are two useful rules of thumb when evaluating redemption fees:</p> <ul> <li>The average minimum holding period to avoid a redemption fee is 65 days, so avoid funds that require you to hold onto your fund much longer than that. While your nest egg should be a last resort fund, you shouldn't be penalized for accessing your money when in need.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The SEC limits redemption fees to 2%. However, some funds may charge as low as 0.01%. The lower the redemption fee, the better.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Exchange Fee</h2> <p>Diversification is a useful investment strategy to lower your market risk. For example, it's generally better to split your investment into three significantly different assets than to &quot;put all your eggs in one basket.&quot; If one of your investments tanks, you still have two to fall back on.</p> <p>Before you fire up the online dashboard of your 401K and transfer money from one fund to another, check for applicable exchange fees within your retirement plan. Even worse, some 401K plans may tack on additional load and redemption fees when you exchange between funds.</p> <h2>4. Individual Service Fee</h2> <p>On top of your plan's administrative fee, your 401K may incur individual service fees related to features that you opted into. You may incur individual service fees when:</p> <ul> <li>Taking a loan from your 401K account;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Executing participant investment directions;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Opting for a clause to terminate a contract with your employer before the contract's expiration date; or<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Choosing an investment option that includes an insurance component (e.g. annuity).</li> </ul> <p>There are many other types of individual service fees. Keep in mind that some individual service fees that are paid indirectly from the investment options you have chosen may not be listed in your quarterly 401K statement.</p> <h2>5. &quot;Other&quot; Fee</h2> <p>Along with those other fees, 401K plans can have a miscellaneous fee category for listing anything that is neither a sales charge nor an account maintenance charge.</p> <p>Some examples of other fees are:</p> <ul> <li>Custodial expenses;</li> <li>Legal expenses;</li> <li>Recordkeeping expenses;</li> <li>Furnishing statement expenses;</li> <li>Toll-free telephone service fees;</li> <li>Transfer agent expenses; and</li> <li>Other administrative fees.</li> </ul> <p>Depending on the terms of your plan, another fee may be a percentage of your assets invested in the fund or a flat fee.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Do your due diligence before choosing funds within <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-your-401k-is-underperforming">your 401K plan</a>. To get a full picture of your investment options, you need to go beyond their average returns. The two key documents that you need in order to find out more about applicable fees are the Summary Plan Description and the Annual Report.</p> <h3>Summary Plan Description (SPD)</h3> <p>Upon joining the 401K plan, you receive a copy of your SPD. You will receive an updated copy every five years if there are significant changes or every 10 years if there are no changes.</p> <h3>Annual Report (Form 5500 Series)</h3> <p>Every year you should receive a copy. If not, you can examine a free copy from the <a href="http://www.efast.dol.gov">Department of Labor</a>.</p> <p><em>Do you know what fees your 401K is charging you? Are they fair?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-enjoy-retirement-if-you-havent-saved-enough">How to Enjoy Retirement If You Haven&#039;t Saved Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-didnt-know-about-retirement">12 Things You Didn&#039;t Know About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-women-should-know-about-retirement-planning">12 Surprising Things Women Should Know About Retirement Planning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-planning-if-you-re-under-30">Retirement Planning If You’re Under 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) Hidden fees investments returns Mon, 28 Sep 2015 13:00:40 +0000 Damian Davila 1568872 at http://www.wisebread.com The 9 Best Performing Mutual Funds of the 2000s http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-the-2000s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-the-2000s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_investments_000068915471.jpg" alt="Man discovering best mutual funds of the 2000s" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're looking to supercharge your investment returns, it's often helpful to look at some of the best performing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-top-mutual-funds-for-low-risk-investors">mutual funds</a> of recent years. It's a particularly fun exercise to examine the funds that have performed best since the year 2000.</p> <p>This list was compiled using historical data on annual average returns from Morningstar and Fidelity. It is heavy on biotechnology and health funds, driven by some of the biggest gainers in the stock market over the last 15 years.</p> <p>It's worth noting that there are several funds that could be on this list, but are now closed to new investors. There are also other funds that have done exceptionally well in the last 10 years, but did not make the list because of bad performance between 2000 and 2005.</p> <p>Here's to hoping these funds can give your portfolio a boost. Just remember that past performance does not guarantee future returns.</p> <h2>1. Prudential Jennison Health Sciences Fund Z [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/PHSZX/quote.html">PHSZX</a>]</h2> <p>It's hard to complain about an 18% average annual return over the last 15 years. A $10,000 investment at the start of 2000 would be worth more than $130,000 now. Top holdings are Biomarin Pharmaceutical, Shire, and Allergan.</p> <h2>2. Rydex Basic Biotechnology Fund Class A [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/RYBOX/quote.html">RYBOX</a>]</h2> <p>Founded in 2004, here's a fund that has ridden the wave of hot biotech stocks. This fund would have netted $57,000 from a $10,000 investment at the start. It boasts a 17% average annual return over the last decade, and a more than 50% return over the last year. Gilead, Amgen, and Celgene are the top holdings in this fund.</p> <h2>3. ProFunds BioTechnology UltraSector Fund Investor Class [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/BIPIX/quote.html">BIPIX</a>]</h2> <p>This fund is not for the faint of heart. It has high fees and a high minimum investment ($15,000), and uses leverage to maximize returns. But that risk has paid off for investors with an average annual 9% return since being founded in June of 2000. It's recorded a 21% average annual return in the last decade and a 63% average annual return in the last three years. Its holdings include some of the biggest names in biotech, including Gilead Sciences, Amgen, and Alexion Pharmaceuticals.</p> <h2>4. Fidelity Select Biotechnology [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FBIOX/quote.html">FBIOX</a>]</h2> <p>This fund has been a solid performer for more than a decade, with an average annual return of more than 14% since the start of 2000, and more than 19% since 2005. Investors should be especially pleased with the 64% return in the past year. Anyone who invested $10,000 into this fund back in 2000 would have about $45,000 today.</p> <h2>5. Rydex Dynamic NASDAQ-100 2x Strategy Class A [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/RYVLX/quote.html">RYVLX</a>]</h2> <p>This is another fund that should probably come with a bottle of ulcer medication. Investors tough enough to endure a brutal 2008 will have seen this mutual fund rebound nicely. This fund has a 16% average annual return since being founded in 2004, and a 50% annual return since the bottom in early 2009. The goal of this fund is to double the performance of the NASDAQ-100. Top holdings include Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.</p> <h2>6. Fidelity Select Pharmaceuticals Portfolio [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FPHAX/quote.html">FPHAX</a>]</h2> <p>It took a while for investors to make money from this fund, but there were solid gains between 2005 and 2007, and super performance in the last six years. We like a 9.8% annual return since its founding date in 2001, and more than 15% in average annual returns in the last 10 years.</p> <h2>7. Fidelity Select Health Care Portfolio [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FSPHX/quote.html">FSPHX</a>]</h2> <p>Ronald Reagan was in his second year as president when this fund first came into being. It's been a solid performer all its life, and has generated an average annual return of 12% in the last 15 years. Current top holdings include Allergan, Medtronic, and Boston Scientific Corp.</p> <h2>8. Fidelity Select IT Services Portfolio [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/FBSOX/quote.html">FBSOX</a>]</h2> <p>This fund was once known as &quot;Business Services and Outsourcing,&quot; but now invests about 80% of its holdings in the information technology sector. Whatever the focus, the fund has been good to investors. An average annual return of about 11% makes this one of the best performers of the last 15 years. Top holdings include Visa, Mastercard, and IBM.</p> <h2>9. Janus Global Life Sciences Fund [<a href="http://www.morningstar.com/funds/XNAS/JAGLX/quote.html">JAGLX</a>]</h2> <p>Here's a funny thing about this fund: If you bought right at the start of 2000, you'd have been rewarded with a 70% return on your investment within two months. But if you bought in March of that year, you'd have been forced to wait 11 years to see any positive return at all. Patient investors, however will have seen an average annual return of between 11% and 12%, and a 41% average annual return over the last three years.</p> <p><em>Are you invested in any of these nine best performing mutual funds of this century? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-performing-mutual-funds-of-the-2000s">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-boring-investments-that-are-surprisingly-profitable">10 Boring Investments That Are Surprisingly Profitable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-invest-in-biotech-without-getting-burned">7 Ways to Invest in Biotech Without Getting Burned</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-that-are-actually-having-a-good-year">10 Stocks That Are Actually Having a Good Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-food-and-beverage-stocks-that-are-having-a-good-year">11 Food and Beverage Stocks That Are Having a Good Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 2000s biotech healthcare millennium mutual funds returns stock market Mon, 31 Aug 2015 13:00:24 +0000 Tim Lemke 1536881 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Effectively Complain to the Manager http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4099487936_ddfbd16766_z.jpg" alt="angry woman" title="angry woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the basic tenets of business is that it&rsquo;s cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Many companies view customer complaints as a way to gauge what works and what changes they need to make to keep customers happy. Good managers take this to heart and strive to provide the most favorable solution to a customer&rsquo;s problem. However, an ineffective complaint can actually hurt your chances of getting the issue resolved. How you approach the situation can make all the difference, so using the right methods can greatly increase your chance of satisfaction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-what-you-want-on-customer-service-calls">How to Get What You Want on Customer Service Calls</a>)</p> <h2>Remain Polite and Calm</h2> <p>Although you are likely annoyed or even angry about the situation, it&rsquo;s very important to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">keep your emotions in check</a> when you speak to the manager. People often lose their ability to empathize when they feel like they&rsquo;re being verbally attacked, and the manager can easily go into a less-than-helpful, defensive state if you come off as overly upset or aggressive.</p> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Point Fingers</h2> <p>People react better and are more willing to help you if they do not think you are blaming them directly for the problem. If a service rep, salesperson, or restaurant server is the problem, using a phrase such as &ldquo;I&rsquo;m sure the person in question does not represent your policies&rdquo; tells the manager that you&rsquo;re not attacking him or the company as a whole. This also keeps management from becoming defensive and less willing to resolve the matter in your favor.</p> <h2>Blunt Your Criticism</h2> <p>No one wants to hear everything they do is wrong, and this is especially true for mangers who are trying to solve a customer&rsquo;s problem. Stating what you enjoyed about the meal, product, or service and then offering your criticism softens the blow and tells the manager that he may be able to keep you as a customer. Use the company&rsquo;s desire to retain you as a customer as leverage. Say how often you visit or use the service and tell the manager that you would like to return. Failing to point out the good points about the establishment or service will make the manager think you won&rsquo;t be returning anyway, and it may make him less inclined to honor your request.</p> <h2>Propose a Solution</h2> <p>The most effective complaints offer a specific solution. Telling the manager exactly how you want the issue to be resolved gives him a direct course of action and increases the likelihood of a positive result. It also takes away the need for the manager to guess at what you want, which can quickly turn into dickering for &ldquo;fair&rdquo; compensation instead of fully resolving the issue. If you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">desire a refund</a> of a purchase or payment for a service, read your service contract or check the store policies online or on the back of the receipt to determine the refund policy and ensure that you are not out of the refund or return time frame. If you are, you may only be able receive store credit or an exchange, no matter how well you craft your complaint.</p> <h2>Be Reasonable</h2> <p>While your request should make you feel adequately compensated, demanding a free meal because your drink order was wrong will make you seem unreasonable and can make the manager less willing to help you. If a product or service you ordered was damaged or incorrect, give the manager adequate time to repair, replace, or redo it.</p> <p>Staying polite and reasonable gives you the best chance of initiating an effective complaint. Not only will you be more likely to receive the outcome you desire, you&rsquo;ll also be able to return to the store or restaurant or keep using the service with confidence.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lauren-treadwell">Lauren Treadwell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer">8 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Customer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-times-you-should-demand-a-refund">9 Times You Should Demand a Refund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ordering-online-versus-calling-it-in-which-is-better">Ordering Online Versus Calling it In: Which is Better?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping customer service managers refunds returns Tue, 20 Nov 2012 11:00:34 +0000 Lauren Treadwell 955448 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4133651889_26dc86174d.jpg" alt="No Refunds" title="No Refunds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>That little phrase &mdash; non-refundable (or non-returnable) &mdash; is as unsettling to frugal shoppers as garlic is to vampires. Surely in this day and age, where the customer is always right and stores are willing to do anything to get your business, the very idea of non-refundable must be out of date, right?</p> <p>Well, yes it is. Kind of. There are usually ways around every problem, if you're willing to put in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-two-ceos-to-listen-to-my-complaints">a little bit of extra effort</a> and turn on the charm. Or, if charm doesn't work, the threat of further action, including legal ramifications, can work. But usually, a simple explanation of extenuating circumstances can get you what you need. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-complain-and-get-a-good-result">How to Complain and Get a Good Result</a>)</p> <p>So, what follows is a list of items that are often non-refundable or non-returnable, and a few ideas on how to get around the &ldquo;standard&rdquo; policy.</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" alt="Airline tickets" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/tickets.jpg" /></p> <h2>1. Airline Tickets</h2> <p>These are perhaps the biggest and best-known non-refundable purchases. We're always afraid to commit to buy because we know, even if we purchase the pointless travel insurance, that we're never going to get our money back.</p> <p>But for those with particular circumstances or some real persistence, it is possible. These are tough times for the airlines though, so these days it's even harder than ever to get any kind of refund or exchange.</p> <p>First, if you need to cancel your flight due to &ldquo;acts of God&rdquo; in the country or state you're flying to, you will most likely get a refund. These reasons are not exactly small potatoes though, and they include severe weather, political turmoil, war, pandemics, or civil unrest. It's no guarantee, of course.</p> <p>Medical problems are also taken into account when it comes to ticket cancelations. If you are struck down by a sudden illness or cannot fly due to problems that could occur (eye surgery + pressure = danger), then you could qualify for a full refund. You will need supporting medical documentation; you can't just call up with a sick note from your mom.</p> <p>If there's a death or illness in the family, many airlines will give you a refund for your ticket. Hopefully that's one reason you'll never have to use.</p> <p>And if you have just lost your job, you may be able to get a refund on that ticket. You'll really have to turn on the charm, though; most airlines have been thrown into financially choppy waters due to the economy, and a similar story on your end may not go very far.</p> <h2>2. Hotel Rooms</h2> <p>Closely related to airline tickets are hotel rooms. Many of the same reasons for canceling a flight also apply to the cancelation of a hotel room.</p> <p>Once again, you should be able to cancel your reservation and get a full refund if the hotel is bang in the middle of a country that's being hit by war, severe weather, a pandemic, and so on.</p> <p>Canceling due to illness or a death in the family is also a solid reason. However, you may not have as much luck with your own medical issues. Can't fly? Drive to the hotel. Feeling ill? Stay in your room for the trip. The hotel won't really care.</p> <p>If it's peak season or there's a conference in town, you'll have a better chance of getting a refund. In those circumstances the hotel will have no problem filling the room. But any other time, you're probably going to eat the bill unless you have a world-class excuse.</p> <p>Remember, though, if you can't get a refund, a credit for that hotel may be just as good. See if you can wrangle a stay later in the year for free. It also doesn't hurt to ask travel agents if they can help; they often have great relationships with the hotels. And always call the hotel directly; never go through the site you used to book the room. Hotels are filled with people who are in the business of making people happy with their stay. The other sites just want to sell rooms at a discount.</p> <p><img width="350" height="467" alt="Paint" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/paint.jpg" /></p> <h2>3. Custom-Mixed Paint</h2> <p>When you ask for a specific paint to be mixed, you're committing to the sale. The hardware store will print in big, bold letters NON-RETURNABLE on the top. You're stuck with it. Or are you? You may be stuck with the can of paint, but most stores will be more than happy to tint it again if it's possible. I just found this out when a tint I asked to be made turned out to be slightly too dark. The people at Home Depot showed me a selection of colors that could be made from the tint I already had and turned it that shade for me. Nice!</p> <p>Now if you're wondering how those &ldquo;oops&rdquo; paints get returned, they don't. Those are mistakes made during the tinting process that produce the wrong color, or maybe you ordered a quart and the member of staff mixed a gallon by mistake. That goes on sale because you didn't ask for that size and shouldn't have to pay for it.</p> <h2>4. Concert Tickets</h2> <p>You bought two tickets to see U2 or Coldplay at a huge stadium, but then a week before the gig your boss tells you about a last-minute conference out of state. You're now stuck with two tickets that you won't be using, and almost all concert tickets are non-refundable.</p> <p>The best way to get a refund is to sell them. It's that simple. Craigslist is the best resource in my opinion. List the tickets at face value, and you'll probably get your money back. If you want to make sure you get something for them, undervalue them a little. If the concert is sold out, don't think it means everyone is scrambling for a ticket. Scalpers and online brokers often buy up hundreds of tickets and resell them at a massive profit, but it doesn't always work out well for them (Charlie Sheen...oh dear).</p> <p>But don't go down to the box office to get a refund. You'll be laughed at 99% of the time.</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" alt="Store Sale" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/sale.jpg" /></p> <h2>5. Sale/Clearance Items</h2> <p>This one's a toughie. The bright red or yellow sticker on the box saying &ldquo;clearance, no refunds&rdquo; should make it fairly obvious that you won't get a refund on the item. But a little ingenuity can help. Many of the big stores like Walmart and Target will take back those clearance items in spite of the warning. As long as it's in the original packaging, you'll probably get your money back, or at the very least some store credit.</p> <h2>6. Bespoke Clothing</h2> <p>Now we go from tough to really, really tough. Bespoke, or tailored, clothing is very difficult to return. And the reason is obvious. The only person it fits perfectly is you.</p> <p>For a start, think about why you'd want to return it. Is it buyer's remorse? That won't fly with the tailor who sold you the suit of pair of slacks. Tough.</p> <p>You can always try and claim poverty, but that won't work either. To be honest, your best bet here is to list it on eBay. With its worldwide reach, you'll find plenty of people with your measurements, and you may even get more than you paid for it. And if that fails, donate it and write it off on your taxes.</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" alt="DVDs" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/DVDs.jpg" /></p> <h2>7. Opened Video Games, DVDs, and CDs</h2> <p>This is another rotten one to negotiate. In the past, no problem at all. But these days, with copying as easy, and as widespread, as ever, stores have to be ultra-vigilant. Personally, I don't blame them. If they gave everyone a refund who came back a week later with an opened game, they'd go out of business.</p> <p>Now, there is definitely no problem in getting an exchange for the exact same title. If you have a scratched disc and want a replacement, you'll get one. If someone got you a PS3 game and you own an XBOX 360, they should swap it out for a different platform.</p> <p>But what if you get a CD or game, pop it in, and instantly hate it? What then?</p> <p>Well, you could simply sell the item. You won't get top dollar for it, but it's better than having something around that you'll never watch, listen to, or play. Another option is to &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">regift</a>&quot; it. Of course, it should be in perfect condition if you do that; no one wants some scratched-up DVD or CD or a game covered in fingerprints and Cheetos crumbs.</p> <p>So, that's my list of the top seven items that are non-refundable and have workarounds. Did I miss one? Do you have any additional advice? Leave your sage wisdom in the comments below.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager">How to Effectively Complain to the Manager</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-times-you-should-demand-a-refund">9 Times You Should Demand a Refund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do">Customer Service Nightmares - What&#039;s a Good Consumerist to Do?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-customer">8 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Customer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-more-loyalty-perks-from-your-credit-card-company">How to Score More Loyalty Perks From Your Credit Card Company</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs customer service refunds returns Mon, 29 Aug 2011 10:36:08 +0000 Paul Michael 677748 at http://www.wisebread.com How To Get A Customer Service Phone Number, Fast! http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-customer-service-phone-number-fast <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-a-customer-service-phone-number-fast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/255272612_659f585f2e_z.jpg" alt="yelling on phone" title="yelling on phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you've ordered a product or service and something goes wrong. You need to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-what-you-want-on-customer-service-calls" title="How to Get What You Want On Customer Service Calls">speak to a customer service rep</a> as soon as possible, so you pop onto the website and start searching. And continue searching. And search some more. You'll notice that a lot of companies have buried that information, or don't even have it on the website at all. What now? Well, you can do an online search for the phone number, or you can keep two handy sites bookmarked.</p> <p>I stumbled across <a href="http://contacthelp.com/">ContactHelp.com</a> recently after an order I placed at Buy.com went very wrong. (See also: <a title="How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable</a>)</p> <p>First, the product they sent was faulty. So, I was prompted to go into my account and process my own return to get a refund. Great, except my account showed no record of the purchase. I trawled the internet for a while and found a number, which I called to get an RMA# and a UPS label. I was expecting a refund, but guess what...today, I got a replacement. I didn't want it so I had to repeat the process all over again. Luckily, ContactHelp.com got me the contact info immediately.</p> <p>Not unlike the original <a href="http://gethuman.com/">GetHuman.com</a>, ContactHelp.com gets you the information you need to get to a customer service rep immediately. Both sites have a search engine and instructions on how to reach an actual human, but ContactHelp.com has the advantage of a more user-friendly interface and extended information, incuding email addresses, hours of operation, Top 50 lists for easier access, and a very handy User Comments section. This is a place where you can recount your own experience with the company and see how other people have faired. However, if you prefer your sites with the raw simplicity of Craigslist, GetHuman.com is for you.</p> <p>Now, the reason these sites are even necessary is down to pure cost-cutting. Even though many US companies have farmed out their customer service operations to India, they still want to keep the call volume down to an absolute minimum. So, first they'll put measures in place for you to try and solve the problem on your own. Next will be a customer service email form. Only after all these roadblocks have failed will the option of a phone call be offered up. And as you know, finding that phone number on a website is more tricky than finding Waldo.</p> <p>So, keep ContactHelp.com and GetHuman.com in your bookmarks. When you do encounter a problem (and you will...sorry) these are invaluable resources for you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-customer-service-phone-number-fast">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-a-company-to-hear-you-talk-to-their-people">Want a Company to Hear You? Talk to Their “People.”</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-refill-an-ink-cartridge-with-a-small-piece-of-tape">How to refill an ink cartridge with a small piece of tape</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-soda-tidy-a-room-in-three-minutes-cure-a-hangover-and-become-a-movie-extra-phew">How To Make Your Own Soda, Tidy A Room In Three Minutes, Cure A Hangover And Become A Movie Extra. Phew!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Consumer Affairs General Tips Technology Amazon.com buy.com complaints Contacthelp.com GetHuman.com returns Tue, 14 Apr 2009 21:52:27 +0000 Paul Michael 3047 at http://www.wisebread.com The false goal of maximizing investment returns http://www.wisebread.com/the-false-goal-of-maximizing-investment-returns <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-false-goal-of-maximizing-investment-returns" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tree-roots-and-steps.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Along about the middle of the dot-com boom--when the market had already had two years of 20% annual gains--I read an article that suggested that individual investors had no need of a cash reserve, because they could use credit cards in an emergency.</p> <p>As I explained in my article about the <a href="/credit-squeeze-formerly-know-as-a-panic">credit squeeze</a> , I think keeping a cash reserve is especially important right now, but I mention this article because I think it highlights a fundamental distinction in the way people think about investment returns.</p> <h2>Maximum investment returns</h2> <p>The article had a whole investment program, suggesting that you dispense with a cash reserve and instead invest 90% of your money in an S&amp;P 500 stock fund and 10% of your money in zero-coupon bonds with a maturity date the same as your planned retirement date. When it was time to retire, you&#39;d have three year&#39;s spending in zero-coupon bonds, plus about ten times that in stocks. The plan was to move the newly matured zero-coupon bonds into cash and use that money for day-to-day spending in retirement. Each year you were supposed to check the stock market performance and sell enough stocks to top off your cash account with enough to support three years spending--unless the market was down that year, in which case you waited a year and did the calculation again. Only if the market were down three years in a row would you need to sell stocks in a down year.</p> <p>If you had a financial emergency before retirement, you just charged it on your credit card. You could then pay the debt off from current income. If current income wouldn&#39;t cover it, you could sell stock to cover it--but you could do it at a time of your own choosing.</p> <p>People with a reasonably secure job in a reasonably secure industry could probably take the risk of having no cash reserve, and they&#39;d probably come out ahead over a thirty year career by putting 90% of their money in stocks.</p> <h2>Supporting your goals</h2> <p>I think that plan is a bad one. The reason is not that it doesn&#39;t maximize returns--it probably does. The reason is that the goal of an investment portfolio is not to maximize returns. The goal of an investment portfolio is to support the investor&#39;s life goals. An investment portfolio has done its job if it:</p> <ul> <li> provides the capital to make major purchases along the way (a car, a house, tuition),</li> <li>provides a financial cushion against the vicissitudes of life, and </li> <li>lets the investor retire at a suitable standard of living,</li> </ul> <p>all without taking income that&#39;s needed to support daily living. </p> <p>Extra return over that is not a win if its cost is a level of risk that endangers the investor&#39;s financial plan rather than supporting it.</p> <p>Have a life plan. Evaluate your investment portfolio for whether it supports that plan. Be suspicious if your plan is criticized for &quot;not maximizing returns.&quot; The goal isn&#39;t maximum returns. The goal is returns that support your plan.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-false-goal-of-maximizing-investment-returns">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-beyonc">7 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Beyoncé</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-10-minutes-a-week">5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-things-to-do-with-your-settlement-money">8 Smart Things to Do With Your Settlement Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance investing portfolio return returns Thu, 16 Aug 2007 11:15:48 +0000 Philip Brewer 1010 at http://www.wisebread.com Can't Afford to Pay the IRS? http://www.wisebread.com/cant-afford-to-pay-the-irs <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/sam_0.jpg" alt=" " width="141" height="219" /></p> <p>Even though I have a couple of <a href="http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=167194,00.html">extra days</a> to file my tax returns this year, I won&#39;t be able to come up with enough to pay the IRS what I owe.</p> <p>The age old question about <a href="http://www.boston.com/business/taxes/articles/2006/06/04/young_investors_should_pay_taxes_now_not_later/">paying now or later</a> came to a head for me this year, when I chose the &quot;pay later, and invest your money in a high-interest savings account in the meantime&quot; strategy, but forgot to actually save the money. So, I owe Uncle Sam a few grand. Only I don&#39;t have a few grand.</p> <p>It&#39;s what my mom would call &quot;A really big <strong>oopsie</strong>&quot;, and what my sister would call &quot;Way to go, dumbass.&quot;</p> <p>Fortunately (can the term &quot;fortune&quot; be applied when talking about paying taxes?), the IRS has a payment plan option. You get charged interest, but they don&#39;t take away your house or anything.</p> <p>I wasn&#39;t initially sure what to do - I&#39;ve never owed the government anything before. Bless the internet. Here&#39;s an article from <a href="http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Taxes/PreparationTips/WhatIfYouCantPayTheIRS.aspx">MSN Money</a> with a few tips.</p> <p>As always, the folks over at <a href="http://www.fool.com/personal-finance/taxes/2006/04/06/i-cant-afford-my-taxes.aspx">Motley Fool</a> have some valuable financial advice for the monetarily challenged:</p> <p class="blockquote">First and most importantly, don&#39;t let your inability to pay your tax liability in full keep you from filing your tax return properly and on time. Include as large a partial payment as you can. The simple act of filing your return, even if you don&#39;t include full payment, can save you substantial amounts in late-filing penalties. You can also keep the IRS from instituting its collection process with some payment extension procedures and installment-payment arrangements. </p> <p>It&#39;s a bummer to think that you can owe the government more than you really owe the government (interest and fees), isn&#39;t it? But, farther down the page, I read this:</p> <p class="blockquote">In about 45 days, the IRS will send you a bill for the remaining balance due. If you can pay it then, <strong>do so</strong>. If you can&#39;t, send as much as possible (again, reducing penalties and interest) and hang on. In another 45 days or so you&#39;ll get another bill from Uncle Sam. With any luck, you can then pay the balance due. <em>You&#39;ll likely be able to go through two or three of these billing cycles before the IRS bugs you for some type of formal payment method</em>. But if you can clear up the matter using bigger chunks of payments over two or three IRS billing cycles, you&#39;ll pay some interest and penalties, but you&#39;ll save some time by not being required to complete additional IRS paperwork.</p> <p class="heading">You owe, too?</p> <p>The rundown:</p> <ol> <li>File your taxes. Pay what you can.</li> <li>You&#39;ll get a snippy notice in the mail saying that the IRS wants the rest of the money. Pay more. If you can&#39;t pay it all off, you&#39;ll have to go through the formal payment plan process.</li> <li>If you still owe less than 25K (and let&#39;s hope you do), <a href="http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=149373,00.html">go here and start a payment plan</a>. There&#39;s a fee to start a payment plan.</li> <li>If you owe 25K or more:</li> </ol> <p class="blockquote">More than $25,000 in combined tax, penalties, and interest may still qualify for an installment agreement, but a <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f433f.pdf">Collection Information Statement, Form 433F</a> may need to be completed. Call the number on the bill or mail the Request for Installment Agreement, <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f9465.pdf">Form 9465</a> and <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f433f.pdf">Form 433F</a> to the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=147314,00.html">address on the bill</a>.</p> <p> Also, seriously consider having someone help you set up your deductions next year, yes? I know I will.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/troy-hadley">Troy Hadley</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-afford-to-pay-the-irs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/last-minute-tax-filing-extended-post-office-hours-and-more">Last Minute Tax-Filing? Extended Post Office Hours and More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-amazing-outrageous-and-just-plain-weird-tax-deductions">20 amazing, outrageous and just plain weird tax deductions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-are-your-chances-of-getting-audited-by-the-irs-your-guess-is-probably-wrong">What are your chances of getting audited by the IRS? Your guess is probably wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxes-on-irregular-income">Taxes on irregular income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/charitable-giving-get-a-receipt">Charitable giving - get a receipt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes exemption file IRS returns taxes work Thu, 05 Apr 2007 21:46:33 +0000 Troy Hadley 461 at http://www.wisebread.com Customer Service Nightmares - What's a Good Consumerist to Do? http://www.wisebread.com/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000040016530_Large.jpg" alt="frustrated woman computer" title="frustrated woman computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love the web site <a href="http://www.consumerist.com/" target="_blank">Consumerist</a>&nbsp;(motto: Shoppers Bite Back). They provide some great money-saving ideas, funny advice on how to get away with things that you didn't even know you could, and good commentary on consumerist culture.</p> <p>In addition, Consumerist offers some great customer-provided stories about companies jilting customers, <strong>and</strong> they offer the customer the best revenge &mdash; public venting of their experience. Better than a rant/rave on Craigslist, the stories at Consumerist are mind-boggling. The kind of bullying that goes down at retailers both big and small, online and brick-and-mortar, are often laugh-out-loud funny.</p> <p>I've had some fantastically bad customer service exchanges during my lifetime, but I really enjoyed reading about this <a href="http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/complaints/weddingdepots-nonresponsive-passive-aggressive-customer-service-225599.php" target="_blank">one</a>. I can't imagine how this &quot;customer service&quot; rep (actually the sole owner, president, and resident jerk of WeddingDepot.com) has been able to hold onto a job for more than a day, seeing as how he is functionally insane. He's also telling Consumerist to <a href="http://consumerist.com/2007/01/03/weddingdepot-wants-our-libelous-post-removed/">take down the original posting</a>.</p> <p>Hilarious. Dumb, but hilarious.</p> <p>These days, people are taking to many other venues to rant about subpar customer service (or service in general), including Yelp, Angie's List, and even Google. Jilted customers have every right to complain about poor service, though they should keep in mind not to abuse the system and always be honest. After all, negative reviews can definitely <a href="http://www.onthemedia.org/story/leaving-negative-reviews-online-not-safe-it-used-be/">affect a business's bottom line</a>&nbsp;in ways they may not be able to bounce back from.&nbsp;</p> <p>What do you do after a bad customer service experience?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retailers-with-the-absolute-best-customer-service">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-consumerist-editor-talks-about-how-to-tackle-inept-customer-service">A Consumerist Editor Talks About How to Tackle Inept Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager">How to Effectively Complain to the Manager</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Consumerist customer service online shopping retail returns reviews Fri, 05 Jan 2007 21:58:14 +0000 Andrea Karim 156 at http://www.wisebread.com Special holiday return policies of popular stores http://www.wisebread.com/special-holiday-return-policies-of-popular-stores <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/special-holiday-return-policies-of-popular-stores" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000022432578_XXXLarge.jpg" alt="family holiday shopping" title="family holiday shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><font face="Arial, verdana, helvetica, helv">Consumer World compiled a great list of the special <a href="http://www.consumerworld.org/pages/returns.htm" target="_blank">holiday return policies</a> of some of the most popular stores such as Amazon, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Target, Costco, etc. </font></p> <p><font face="Arial, verdana, helvetica, helv">Consumer World is run by Edwgar Dworsky, a highly respected consumer rights attorney. It is pretty sweet having an attorney read the return policy fine print for you, but I advise you to use the chart only as a general guide. Make sure you check out these policies for yourself before making a return or purchase.</font></p> <p><font face="Arial, verdana, helvetica, helv"> &quot;Some retailers relax their regular return deadlines at holiday time by extending the return period into January. Remarkably, in Consumer World's spot check of in-store return policy signage, some stores failed to post the terms of their holiday policies.&quot;</font></p> <p><strong>Note: Following return policies reflect 2006.</strong></p> <table border="2" cellspacing="2" cellpadding="2" width="399" height="248"> <tbody> <tr> <td><strong>Amazon.com</strong></td> <td>January 31 (for most items shipped 11/01 through 12/31) 15% restocking fee: open computers.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Best Buy</strong></td> <td>January 8 (for camcorders, digital cameras, printers, monitors, projectors, radar detectors); January 24 (all other items bought since November 1). Computers: 14 days from purchase only.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Buy.com</strong></td> <td>Holiday return policy eliminated.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Circuit City</strong></td> <td>January 25 most items; January 8 for 14 day items including computers.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Costco</strong></td> <td>No deadline (except computers).</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Kohl's</strong></td> <td>No deadline (with receipt).</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Marshalls</strong></td> <td>January 6 (for purchases October 29&ndash;December 6).</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Overstock.com</strong></td> <td>By January 10, initiate return of most items purchased November 1 or later.</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Staples</strong></td> <td>No deadline for office supplies. (January 6 for electronics and furniture bought since November 24).</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>TJ Maxx</strong></td> <td>January 7 (for purchases October 29&ndash;December 6).</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Target</strong></td> <td>Target: 90 days from purchase (15% restocking fee on portable electronics, digital cameras, camcorders; specially marked clearance items only qualify for current sale price).</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Toys R Us</strong></td> <td>90 days (45 days for unopened electronics, video products).</td> </tr> <tr> <td><strong>Wal-Mart</strong></td> <td>90 days most items (other items: 15 days [PCs], 30 [cameras], or 45 [PC accessories]).</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/special-holiday-return-policies-of-popular-stores">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-things-that-are-always-cheaper-at-target">The 8 Things That Are Always Cheaper at Target</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-worth-paying-more-for-faster-shipping">Is it worth paying more for faster shipping?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/modifiers-5-things-that-change-an-items-final-price">Modifiers: 5 things that change an item&#039;s final price</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-store-perks-that-make-you-overspend">4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-things-you-should-buy-at-costco">15 Things You Should Buy at Costco</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Amazon best buy consumer world costco Holidays return policy returns target Tue, 26 Dec 2006 17:01:07 +0000 Will Chen 111 at http://www.wisebread.com