Muni Bonds: Best Investment for Rising Taxes

Last Updated Apr 30, 2010 2:43 PM EDT With interest rates historically low and income taxes poised to rise — for wealthy investors, at least — municipal bonds have been attracting lots of interest of late. And lots of doomsday talk: Prices will tank as rates rise, the fear goes, and state governments that issue the bonds are on the verge of an economic Armageddon. Those are serious risks to be sure, but consider the rewards: For investors in the 28 percent tax bracket (taxable income over $137,300 for married couples filing jointly), the 3.1 percent yield on the highest-quality 10-year muni bond is equivalent to earning a taxable 4.3 percent. A comparable Treasury bond pays 3.8 percent. Factor in potential tax hikes by 2011 and the coming levy on investment income for high earners (part of health-care reform), and tax-free income is even more valuable. Better yet, certain state bonds are especially lucrative today. With a New York muni fund, for example, investors can earn the equivalent of 5.9 percent. (To get the taxable-equivalent yield of any municipal bond, use this calculator.) And while high yields hint at the budget problems that are a cause of so much concern, even single-state municipal bond funds can have a role as part of a diversified portfolio. Just be sure to protect yourself. How to Cut Your Risk What has bond market observers worried is the shaky financial condition of so many cities and states. In the wake of the massive slowdown in real estate and retail sales — both big tax generators — state budget deficits are expected to total $256 billion for the 2009 to 2011 fiscal years, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. It’s no wonder Jim Chanos, the hedge fund manager best known for predicting the Enron debacle, fears a wave of bond defaults by cash-strapped municipalities. Yet plenty of savvy investors are undeterred. “Yes, there are financial difficulties for some Continue Reading

Your Credit Score and the New Credit Card Rules

Last Updated Apr 28, 2010 5:18 PM EDT This story was updated April 28, 2010 After new credit card rules took effect in February, cardholders found that it wasn't all good news. Card companies hit them with new fees and interest rate hikes, as the companies tried to replace sources of revenue that reform was quickly cutting off. Millions of Citibank cardholders, for example, got hit with a $60 annual fee on cards that were previously free. That's got some of my readers asking whether cancelling these cards will hurt their credit scores. And, if so, will it hurt enough to matter? The first answer is "yes." The second one isn't so easy. Your credit score is an algorithm aimed at handicapping your propensity to pay your bills. It looks at a number of factors that Fair Isaac Corp., the creators of FICO scores, think best indicate whether you're both responsible and solvent. Little missteps -- like having too few credit cards; or cards that are too close to their limits -- can undermine your score. But your FICO score is like an ever-changing fingerprint. Every time someone reports another piece of information about you, your score can change. How much it will change will vary dramatically based on what else is in your file. To better understand why, you need a little backgrounder on how these scores work. There are five broad categories that make up your FICO score -- the most widely used of the nation's credit scoring models. The most important factor is your payment history, which reflects whether you pay your bills on time, have ever filed for bankruptcy, faced foreclosure, or settled debts for less than 100 cents on the dollar. Your payment history accounts for 35% of your score and would not be affected by closing an account. But the second and third most important categories determining your score -- "amounts owed" and "length of credit history" -- could be affected by closing a credit account, particularly if it was your oldest card. These two categories Continue Reading

Slideshow: Famous Hoosiers throughout the years

Alex Karras Alex Karras became the best known member of a football-playing family, with a career as a dominant defensive lineman in the National Football League, followed by an acting career that included notable roles in "Blazing Saddles" and "Webster."Karras was born in Gary on July 15, 1935. His father was a Greek immigrant and doctor; his mother a nurse. Karras' brothers Lou, Ted and Paul all played football, Lou and Ted in the NFL.Karras graduated from Emerson High School and attended the University of Iowa, where he earned the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in college football. He was drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 1958 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions.Karras played for the Lions from 1958-62 and 64-70. He was suspended for the 1963 season after admitting to gambling on NFL games. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and was named to the 1960s All-Decade NFL team.His wider fame had its start in the major role he played in George Plimpton's book "Paper Lion," chronicling the writer's experience as an amateur quarterback for the Lions. When the book was adapted as a movie, Karras played himself opposite Alan Alda's Plimpton.Karras appeared in a variety of movies and TV shows, including "Blazing Saddles" as the outlaw Mongo, who memorably knocked out a horse with a single punch; "Porky's"; the TV miniseries "Centennial," and his starring role in the sitcom "Webster," which he produced with his co-star and wife, Susan Clark.Karras also worked as a commentator on Monday Night Football broadcasts from 1974-76, alongside Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford.Karras had six children with his two wives. He died at age 77 on Oct. 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, suffering from kidney failure, cancer and dementia. Becca Bruszewski Whether it was basketball or volleyball, Becca Bruszewski found a way to stand out.The 6-foot-1 Wheeler graduate was The Times Player of the Year and an Indiana All-Star in 2007, finishing second runner-up for Miss Basketball. In Continue Reading

APR vs. Interest Rate: What’s the Difference Between These 2 Mortgage Terms?

If you’re applying for a mortgage, "APR" and "interest rate" are two terms you should understand. What are these financial terms and how do they vary? Daniel Bortz, provided by Published 1:45 pm, Friday, January 26, 2018 Photo: Bubbers13/iStock Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Photo: Bubbers13/iStock APR vs. Interest Rate: What's the Difference Between These 2 Mortgage Terms? 1 / 1 Back to Gallery APR versus interest rate: What's the difference? If you’re applying for a mortgage, these are two financial terms you need to understand. APR stands for "annual percentage rate," or the amount of interest on your total loan that you'll pay annually over the life of the loan. It's slightly different from the interest rate, which is the cost you'll pay each day based on your mortgage balance. These terms might be foreign to you, especially if this is your first time buying a home. But don’t worry—we’ll break down what each one is so that you’re ready to be a savvy mortgage shopper. Let's first start by discussing the mortgage interest rate. What is a mortgage interest rate? Home & Real Estate Channel Now Playing: Now Playing Hot Property | Simon Cowell takes his talents to a bluff top in Malibu Los Angeles Times 9 Stunning Mansions You Can Own for $300,000 or Less Time See the Block Where Taylor Swift Has Dropped $50 Million On 3 Apartments Time Chip and Joanna Gaines Are Calling It Quits On ‘Fixer Upper’ After Fifth Season Buzz60 Building Houston - Highland Homes Highland Homes, Houston Chronicle Pacifica apartments demolished Brandpoint Dan Gilbert affiliate to buy former Brewster Douglass site Fox2Detroit These Tiny Luxury Homes Have The Best Storage CountryLiving SF serves Millennium Tower Continue Reading

What Is ‘APR’? Annual Percentage Rate, Explained

The annual percentage rate, or APR, is how much you'll pay in interest and other fees when you get a mortgage to buy a home. Audrey Ference, provided by Published 1:30 pm, Wednesday, January 17, 2018 Photo: Pawel.gaul/iStock Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Photo: Pawel.gaul/iStock What Is 'APR'? Annual Percentage Rate, Explained 1 / 1 Back to Gallery What is "APR"? The annual percentage rate, or APR, is how much you'll pay in interest and other fees when you get a mortgage to buy a home. The "and other fees" clause is key here. When people get a mortgage, they often obsess over the interest rate alone—say, that 5% extra you'll pay over the life of your loan on that $300,000 you're borrowing. But that's not where your expenses end, and that's where APR comes into play. "The APR includes the interest rate and other charges, which is why it's usually higher than just your interest rate," says Michele Lerner, author of "Home Buying: Tough Times, First Time, Any Time." Which fees are included in APR Home & Real Estate Channel Now Playing: Now Playing Restraining order protecting Chinese Cultural Center expired Fox10Phoenix Prices For Trump Condos are Reportedly Falling Veuer The Most Expensive House in the World Is Up for Sale Time A Poll Says This Is America's Favorite Kind of House Time Construction kicks off in new, oceanfront community. Texas Waterfront Marketing Mindy Kaling Is Selling Her $2 Million Hollywood Home. Take a Look Inside Time Video: Jared Kushner's firm asks judge to protect investors' names in Baltimore lawsuit WBAL How Start-Up Knock is Disrupting the Real Estate Industry Cheddar TV PEOPLE Explains: The Case of Cyntoia Brown, Who Murdered a Man as Teen After Being Forced Into Continue Reading

Bobby Petrino’s support is still strong with new boss | Tim Sullivan

In the most meaningful ways, Bobby Petrino’s new boss is the same as his old boss.Tom Jurich’s firing means Petrino’s buyout has been cut in half, that the University of Louisville football coach can be freed from his contract now for a mere $4.25 million. But Vince Tyra, U of L’s acting athletic director, said Sunday that Petrino’s support has not wavered during the transition to a new supervisor.What’s more, Tyra said, Petrino told him he trusted him.“I think he’s comfortable where he is here,” Tyra said in a halftime interview during Louisville’s 79-77 basketball loss to Seton Hall. “He’s said it before and he’s continued to say that this is the place he wants to be with his family and so forth and you’ve got to take him at his word. I certainly don’t want to second-guess that. More: Louisville, Mississippi State will play with 'knowledge on both sides'  “At the same time, you can’t be naïve to the fact that there will be programs that would probably have interest in him, particularly when fans like to see points. Bobby can score points.”Rumors attaching Petrino to other jobs have long been a staple of college football’s post-season, and his history of job-hopping makes each new rumor difficult to discount.Last week, amid the University of Tennessee’s dysfunctional coaching search, Knoxville News-Sentinel columnist John Adams asked, “At this point, do you really think Tennessee could hire a better coach than Bobby Petrino?”Last month, Football Scoop’s Scott Roussel reported Auburn seemed to be “kicking the tires on Bobby Petrino as a backup plan,” in the event Gus Malzahn left.Reports that Malzahn has agreed to a new contract at Auburn, spurning a lucrative overture from the University of Arkansas, were unconfirmed as of Sunday evening. Still, that development figures Continue Reading

Corrections & Clarifications

Share This Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about Facebook Email Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Pinterest Corrections & Clarifications The following Detroit News corrections and clarifications have been published: Sent! A link has been sent to your friend's email address. Posted! A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. The Detroit News Published 6:06 p.m. ET June 23, 2015 | Updated 6:42 p.m. ET March 16, 2018 CONNECT TWEET LINKEDIN EMAIL MORE The Detroit News promptly corrects factual errors or clarifies misleading information. Please let us know if you think we may have published incorrect or misleading information. Call us at (800) 678-4115. Fax us at (313) 496-5400. E-mail us at correct[email protected] Please indicate whether you're responding to content online or in the newspaper. The following corrections and clarifications have been published: MARCH Politics: Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next CIA director, oversaw a CIA prison in Thailand at some point in 2002. The Associated Press incorrectly reported her tenure at the prison in a March 13 story. Business: The Ford Mustang GT500 and GT350 were last sold concurrently in 1969. A March 16 story incorrectly stated they had ever been sold at the same time. Entertainment: Kapusta, a type of sauerkraut, was misidentified in a March 15 restaurant review. Business: George Lahanas is the city manager of East Lansing. His title was incorrect in a March 13 column. FEBRUARY Autos:  A Feb. 27 auto review has been updated to reflect that the Tesla Model 3 keyless entry system responds to a digital key transmitted by Bluetooth from the car owner’s phone or by tapping a thin card on the car’s b-pillar. The system was incorrectly described. Also, the “Autosteer” feature cautions drivers to check mirrors for oncoming traffic before activating a lane change. The Continue Reading