Personal Finance - The Salt Lake Tribune http://www.sltrib.com/cat/PersonalFinance Stories from The Salt Lake Tribune &copy; 2014 The Associated Press, The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our privacy policy: http://www.sltrib.com/pages/privacy. en-us webmaster@sltrib.com (Webmaster) Wal-Mart’s mobile checking account nixes fees http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58477232-79/customers-fees-account-overdraft.html.csp Wal-Mart is the latest company to get rid of fees that traditional banks charge customers who don’t have enough money in their accounts to cover purchases. The world’s largest retailer said Wednesday that it teamed up with Green Dot Corp., a company known for its reloadable prepaid cards, to bring mobile checking accounts to its shoppers. The accounts won’t charge overdraft and bounced-check fees. It’s the latest attempt to offer banking services that cater to cash-strapped Americans who are sti... Wal-Mart is the latest company to get rid of fees that traditional banks charge customers who don’t have enough money in their accounts to cover purchases. The world’s largest retailer said Wednesday that it teamed up with Green Dot Corp., a company known for its reloadable prepaid cards, to bring mobile checking accounts to its shoppers. The accounts won’t charge overdraft and bounced-check fees. It’s the latest attempt to offer banking services that cater to cash-strapped Americans who are sti... <img src="http://mngislctrib.112.2O7.net/b/ss/mngislctrib/1/H.17--NS/0?&pageName=RSS" height="1" width="1" border="0" alt=""/> 58477232@www.sltrib.com Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:11:01 MDT Julie Jason: Smart beta opens new opportunities for investing http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58450226-79/beta-morningstar-strategic-products.html.csp What do you know about smart beta? I’ve recently been in Chicago attending the Morningstar ETF conference. Morningstar, as many investors know, is an independent provider of market and investment research, accessible to all through www.Morningstar.com. When you think of an exchange-traded fund (ETF), you might think “S&P 500 Index replicator” — a passive index fund with the added characteristic that it trades throughout the day like a stock. Now consider ETFs that incorporate active management.... What do you know about smart beta? I’ve recently been in Chicago attending the Morningstar ETF conference. Morningstar, as many investors know, is an independent provider of market and investment research, accessible to all through www.Morningstar.com. When you think of an exchange-traded fund (ETF), you might think “S&P 500 Index replicator” — a passive index fund with the added characteristic that it trades throughout the day like a stock. Now consider ETFs that incorporate active management.... 58450226@www.sltrib.com Fri, 26 Sep 2014 19:09:01 MDT Why rate hikes are good news for stocks http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58459199-79/rates-fed-stocks-market.html.csp New York • It’s no surprise that the prospect of a Federal Reserve rate hike worries stock investors. The Fed’s unprecedented economic stimulus has in large part driven a surge in stock prices since 2009. The central bank has bought trillions of dollars of bonds and kept short-term interest rates close to zero. That’s allowed businesses and consumers to refinance their debt at lower rates, freeing up cash to spend. But if history is a guide, investors have nothing to fear. In the nine instances ... New York • It’s no surprise that the prospect of a Federal Reserve rate hike worries stock investors. The Fed’s unprecedented economic stimulus has in large part driven a surge in stock prices since 2009. The central bank has bought trillions of dollars of bonds and kept short-term interest rates close to zero. That’s allowed businesses and consumers to refinance their debt at lower rates, freeing up cash to spend. But if history is a guide, investors have nothing to fear. In the nine instances ... 58459199@www.sltrib.com Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:59:01 MDT Envelopes in Marriott hotels invite tips for maids http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58450304-79/hotel-marriott-leave-tip.html.csp Do you leave a tip in your hotel room for the maid? Marriott has launched a program with Maria Shriver to put envelopes in hotel rooms to encourage tipping. The campaign, called “The Envelope Please,” began last week. Envelopes are being placed in 160,000 rooms in the U.S. and Canada. Some 750 to 1,000 hotels will participate from Marriott brands like Courtyard, Residence Inn, J.W. Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance hotels. The name of the person who cleans the room will be written on the e... Do you leave a tip in your hotel room for the maid? Marriott has launched a program with Maria Shriver to put envelopes in hotel rooms to encourage tipping. The campaign, called “The Envelope Please,” began last week. Envelopes are being placed in 160,000 rooms in the U.S. and Canada. Some 750 to 1,000 hotels will participate from Marriott brands like Courtyard, Residence Inn, J.W. Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Renaissance hotels. The name of the person who cleans the room will be written on the e... 58450304@www.sltrib.com Wed, 24 Sep 2014 17:10:55 MDT Here are 5 ways to protect yourself from data breaches http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58450288-79/credit-card-information-says.html.csp Data breaches at retailers aren’t going away, but there are ways consumers can protect themselves from future heists of their payment-card information. Home Depot said last week that malicious software lurking in its checkout terminals between April and September affected 56 million debit and credit cards that customers swiped at its stores. Target, Michaels and Neiman Marcus also have been attacked by hackers in the past year. More breaches are likely. The Department of Homeland Security warne... Data breaches at retailers aren’t going away, but there are ways consumers can protect themselves from future heists of their payment-card information. Home Depot said last week that malicious software lurking in its checkout terminals between April and September affected 56 million debit and credit cards that customers swiped at its stores. Target, Michaels and Neiman Marcus also have been attacked by hackers in the past year. More breaches are likely. The Department of Homeland Security warne... 58450288@www.sltrib.com Wed, 24 Sep 2014 09:35:02 MDT Drugstores, retailers dive deeper into vaccines http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58424777-79/flu-doctor-retailers-shots.html.csp Walgreen provided enough flu shots last season to protect a population roughly twice the size of Los Angeles. CVS doled out more than 5 million, or double its total from a few years ago. And Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, offers flu shots at more than 4,200 of its U.S. stores that have pharmacies. The nation’s biggest drugstores and other retailers are grabbing larger chunks of the immunization market, giving customers more convenient options outside the doctor’s office to protect them... Walgreen provided enough flu shots last season to protect a population roughly twice the size of Los Angeles. CVS doled out more than 5 million, or double its total from a few years ago. And Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, offers flu shots at more than 4,200 of its U.S. stores that have pharmacies. The nation’s biggest drugstores and other retailers are grabbing larger chunks of the immunization market, giving customers more convenient options outside the doctor’s office to protect them... 58424777@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:05:02 MDT Women buying a car want what men want — usually http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58424798-79/women-car-buyers-percent.html.csp Detroit • What do women want in a car? The same things men do — with subtle differences. Exterior styling and overall value are the most important things to new car buyers of both sexes, according to TrueCar.com, an auto buying site that regularly surveys buyers. Past experience with the brand and driving performance are next on the list. But while men usually give an edge to styling and driving performance, women tend to rank safety and fuel economy more highly than men do, TrueCar says. Those... Detroit • What do women want in a car? The same things men do — with subtle differences. Exterior styling and overall value are the most important things to new car buyers of both sexes, according to TrueCar.com, an auto buying site that regularly surveys buyers. Past experience with the brand and driving performance are next on the list. But while men usually give an edge to styling and driving performance, women tend to rank safety and fuel economy more highly than men do, TrueCar says. Those... 58424798@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:05:02 MDT Julie Jason: Can 401(k) withdrawal occur without penalty when leaving a company? http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58425213-79/penalty-early-irs-age.html.csp Marilyn, age 55, has been downsized. She wants to know: Can she take money out of her 401(k) when she leaves her job? And can she take money out of her IRA? Marilyn’s 401(k) plan allows her to take her money out when she leaves her company. As a result, she will be able to take a distribution from her plan. Will she be subject to the Internal Revenue Service 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal because she is under the age of 59 1/2? No. A special rule applies to 401(k) plans. The early-... Marilyn, age 55, has been downsized. She wants to know: Can she take money out of her 401(k) when she leaves her job? And can she take money out of her IRA? Marilyn’s 401(k) plan allows her to take her money out when she leaves her company. As a result, she will be able to take a distribution from her plan. Will she be subject to the Internal Revenue Service 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal because she is under the age of 59 1/2? No. A special rule applies to 401(k) plans. The early-... 58425213@www.sltrib.com Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:05:02 MDT Yellen says U.S. families need to boost savings http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58428466-79/families-yellen-assets-fed.html.csp Washington • The Great Recession showed that a large number of American families are “extraordinarily vulnerable” to financial setbacks because they have few assets to fall back on, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday Yellen said a Fed survey found that an unexpected expense of just $400 would force the majority of American families to borrow money, sell something or simply not pay. “The financial crisis and the Great Recession demonstrated, in a dramatic and unmistakable manner, ho... Washington • The Great Recession showed that a large number of American families are “extraordinarily vulnerable” to financial setbacks because they have few assets to fall back on, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday Yellen said a Fed survey found that an unexpected expense of just $400 would force the majority of American families to borrow money, sell something or simply not pay. “The financial crisis and the Great Recession demonstrated, in a dramatic and unmistakable manner, ho... 58428466@www.sltrib.com Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:42:01 MDT NY: Wal-Mart levied fictional ‘sugar tax’ on soda http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58420741-79/mart-wal-sugar-tax.html.csp Albany, N.Y. • New York’s attorney general has settled a false advertising investigation at Wal-Mart, saying some store personnel were citing a nonexistent “sugar tax” on soda. The attorney general’s office says the retailer launched a national sale in June advertising Coca-Cola 12-packs for $3, but consumers at 117 Wal-Mart stores in New York were routinely charged $3.50. Investigators say some consumers who complained were falsely told the state has a “sugar tax.” They say the markup of more t... Albany, N.Y. • New York’s attorney general has settled a false advertising investigation at Wal-Mart, saying some store personnel were citing a nonexistent “sugar tax” on soda. The attorney general’s office says the retailer launched a national sale in June advertising Coca-Cola 12-packs for $3, but consumers at 117 Wal-Mart stores in New York were routinely charged $3.50. Investigators say some consumers who complained were falsely told the state has a “sugar tax.” They say the markup of more t... 58420741@www.sltrib.com Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:38:48 MDT U.S. wealth gap putting the squeeze on state revenue http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58415614-79/state-tax-income-revenue.html.csp Washington • Income inequality is taking a toll on state governments. The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has been matched by a slowdown in state tax revenue, according to a report being released Monday by Standard & Poor’s. Even as income for the affluent has accelerated, it’s barely kept pace with inflation for most other people. That trend can mean a double-whammy for states: The wealthy often manage to shield much of their income from taxes. And they tend to s... Washington • Income inequality is taking a toll on state governments. The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has been matched by a slowdown in state tax revenue, according to a report being released Monday by Standard & Poor’s. Even as income for the affluent has accelerated, it’s barely kept pace with inflation for most other people. That trend can mean a double-whammy for states: The wealthy often manage to shield much of their income from taxes. And they tend to s... 58415614@www.sltrib.com Mon, 15 Sep 2014 08:54:02 MDT Prosecutors target credit card thieves overseas http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58408070-79/credit-card-cards-stolen.html.csp Washington • Criminals from around the world buy and sell stolen credit card information with ease in today’s digital age. But if they commit their crime entirely outside the United States, they may be beyond the reach of federal prosecutors. Justice Department officials are seeking a tougher law to combat overseas credit card trafficking, an increasingly lucrative crime that crosses national boundaries. Authorities say the current statute is too weak because it allows people in other countries ... Washington • Criminals from around the world buy and sell stolen credit card information with ease in today’s digital age. But if they commit their crime entirely outside the United States, they may be beyond the reach of federal prosecutors. Justice Department officials are seeking a tougher law to combat overseas credit card trafficking, an increasingly lucrative crime that crosses national boundaries. Authorities say the current statute is too weak because it allows people in other countries ... 58408070@www.sltrib.com Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:36:01 MDT Heated driveways: Goodbye to the snow shovel? http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58279346-79/heated-says-driveway-winter.html.csp While the rest of the neighborhood was digging out, Alex Geier had little problem leaving his Hinsdale, Illinois, house around 7:30 each morning last winter, no matter how much snow had piled up during the night. No, Geier didn’t pay some kid to shovel at the crack of dawn, and he didn’t hire a private plow service. He and his family were able to navigate even snowy mornings with relative ease thanks to a heated driveway, which melts snow as soon as it hits it. “It’s a classic example how you c... While the rest of the neighborhood was digging out, Alex Geier had little problem leaving his Hinsdale, Illinois, house around 7:30 each morning last winter, no matter how much snow had piled up during the night. No, Geier didn’t pay some kid to shovel at the crack of dawn, and he didn’t hire a private plow service. He and his family were able to navigate even snowy mornings with relative ease thanks to a heated driveway, which melts snow as soon as it hits it. “It’s a classic example how you c... 58279346@www.sltrib.com Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:44:01 MDT Grime on the house? Pros and cons of power washing http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58279347-79/pressure-power-washing-cleaning.html.csp It’s not just national monuments like Mount Rushmore than could benefit from a good power wash every now and then. Is there grime on your siding that good old-fashioned elbow grease won’t take away? Stains on your concrete driveway? Is the deck looking dirty? Power washing or pressure washing — the terms are used almost interchangeably — might be an option. “People find it so powerful,” said Ken Collier, editor-in-chief of The Family Handyman magazine. “It’s so fast and it’s so liberating.” You... It’s not just national monuments like Mount Rushmore than could benefit from a good power wash every now and then. Is there grime on your siding that good old-fashioned elbow grease won’t take away? Stains on your concrete driveway? Is the deck looking dirty? Power washing or pressure washing — the terms are used almost interchangeably — might be an option. “People find it so powerful,” said Ken Collier, editor-in-chief of The Family Handyman magazine. “It’s so fast and it’s so liberating.” You... 58279347@www.sltrib.com Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:44:01 MDT Julie Jason: Two examples of conflict of interest http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58397803-79/firm-clients-conflict-interest.html.csp What’s a conflict of interest? An interesting case was reported recently by the Securities and Exchange Commission that gives a good example of the type of conflict of interest that might arise between a financial firm and its clients. The case had to do with a Houston-based firm that sold mutual funds to its clients, with a payment coming back to the firm from another party. Let me paint the picture: The firm had an arrangement with a registered broker-dealer. The broker would pay from 2 to ... What’s a conflict of interest? An interesting case was reported recently by the Securities and Exchange Commission that gives a good example of the type of conflict of interest that might arise between a financial firm and its clients. The case had to do with a Houston-based firm that sold mutual funds to its clients, with a payment coming back to the firm from another party. Let me paint the picture: The firm had an arrangement with a registered broker-dealer. The broker would pay from 2 to ... 58397803@www.sltrib.com Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:44:01 MDT Why fund managers are sad you’re not on vacation http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58403724-79/story.csp BC-US--Of Mutual Interest-Stock Pickers Lag,803 Why fund managers are sad you’re not on vacation By STAN CHOE AP Business Writer NEW YORK • Your stock-fund manager wishes you’d buy more fun things. Most mutual funds are failing to keep up with broad market indexes again. It’s a trend that’s gone on for years, and the most recent struggles for portfolio managers may be due to their preference for companies that sell coffee, make travel reservations and otherwise focus on non-essentials for consum... BC-US--Of Mutual Interest-Stock Pickers Lag,803 Why fund managers are sad you’re not on vacation By STAN CHOE AP Business Writer NEW YORK • Your stock-fund manager wishes you’d buy more fun things. Most mutual funds are failing to keep up with broad market indexes again. It’s a trend that’s gone on for years, and the most recent struggles for portfolio managers may be due to their preference for companies that sell coffee, make travel reservations and otherwise focus on non-essentials for consum... 58403724@www.sltrib.com Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:26:02 MDT 4 reasons Home Depot’s breach might not matter http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58402387-79/depot-breach-target-customers.html.csp New York • Home Depot’s data breach could wind up being among the largest ever for a retailer, but that may not matter to its millions of customers. The nation’s largest home-improvement chain on Monday confirmed a theft that could have gone back as far as April and affected customers who used credit and debit cards at nearly 2,200 of its U.S. and Canadian stores. While the scope of the hack is not yet known, there’s speculation that it could be the biggest yet. Home Depot joins a growing list o... New York • Home Depot’s data breach could wind up being among the largest ever for a retailer, but that may not matter to its millions of customers. The nation’s largest home-improvement chain on Monday confirmed a theft that could have gone back as far as April and affected customers who used credit and debit cards at nearly 2,200 of its U.S. and Canadian stores. While the scope of the hack is not yet known, there’s speculation that it could be the biggest yet. Home Depot joins a growing list o... 58402387@www.sltrib.com Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:06:41 MDT MasterCard loses EU court battle over fees http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58402085-79/fees-court-mastercard-battle.html.csp Brussels • The European Union’s highest court has thrown out an appeal by MasterCard against a decision by the bloc’s antitrust authority to scrap some of its fees charged to merchants. The ruling by the 28-nation bloc’s Court of Justice on Thursday closes MasterCard’s seven-year-old battle against a decision made by the EU’s competition watchdog. The judges in Luxembourg confirmed a 2012 ruling against by a lower EU court, saying the relevant fees cannot be seen as “objectively necessary” since... Brussels • The European Union’s highest court has thrown out an appeal by MasterCard against a decision by the bloc’s antitrust authority to scrap some of its fees charged to merchants. The ruling by the 28-nation bloc’s Court of Justice on Thursday closes MasterCard’s seven-year-old battle against a decision made by the EU’s competition watchdog. The judges in Luxembourg confirmed a 2012 ruling against by a lower EU court, saying the relevant fees cannot be seen as “objectively necessary” since... 58402085@www.sltrib.com Thu, 11 Sep 2014 09:05:02 MDT Late-payment rate on U.S. auto loans on the rise http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58394223-79/auto-loans-percent-rate.html.csp As U.S. sales of cars and trucks have grown this year, so has the late-payment rate on auto loans. The rate of U.S. auto-loan payments late by 60 days or more rose to 0.95 percent in the second quarter from 0.87 percent a year earlier, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday. The latest auto loan delinquency rate was down from 1 percent in the first three months of the year, however, and remains below the average for the April-June period going back to 2007, the firm said. The increase c... As U.S. sales of cars and trucks have grown this year, so has the late-payment rate on auto loans. The rate of U.S. auto-loan payments late by 60 days or more rose to 0.95 percent in the second quarter from 0.87 percent a year earlier, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday. The latest auto loan delinquency rate was down from 1 percent in the first three months of the year, however, and remains below the average for the April-June period going back to 2007, the firm said. The increase c... 58394223@www.sltrib.com Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:54:02 MDT Tech Tips: What to do when phone contracts end http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/58301171-79/phone-verizon-data-service.html.csp Malvern, Iowa • As my two-year contract with Verizon came to an end recently, I had to resist the company’s various promotions and discounts. In accepting the offers, I’d have to give up Verizon’s unlimited data plan, which lets me use the phone’s cellular data connection as much as I want without overage fees. It’s so good that both Verizon and AT&T have been phasing it out. Existing customers have been allowed to keep those plans, but they get kicked out once they accept these offers. I am pa... Malvern, Iowa • As my two-year contract with Verizon came to an end recently, I had to resist the company’s various promotions and discounts. In accepting the offers, I’d have to give up Verizon’s unlimited data plan, which lets me use the phone’s cellular data connection as much as I want without overage fees. It’s so good that both Verizon and AT&T have been phasing it out. Existing customers have been allowed to keep those plans, but they get kicked out once they accept these offers. I am pa... 58301171@www.sltrib.com Mon, 08 Sep 2014 18:11:01 MDT