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Best Columns: Guarding nests, Polishing Walmart
“These are fast becoming hard times,” says Robert Powell in MarketWatch, but “think twice” before raiding your nest egg. Wal-Mart has a new logo, says Reena Jana in BusinessWeek.com, and it’s
 

Don’t crack the nest egg

As far as the markets go, “these are fast becoming hard times,” says Robert Powell in MarketWatch, “and hard times can lead to bad decisions.” Common bad decisions include getting a reverse mortgage or 401(k) debit card, or cashing in a life insurance policy. Unless you absolutely have to, “think twice” before raiding your nest egg like that. All of those moves have significant costs that could trash your “most valuable assets.” With your 401(k), you should be contributing, not withdrawing. Taking withdrawals from your 401(k) incurs extra tax penalties and steep opportunity costs. Plus, if “as a last resort, you file for bankruptcy,” creditors can’t touch your 401(k) or the first $1 million in your IRA.

Wal-Mart’s makeover

Wal-Mart has a new logo, says Reena Jana in BusinessWeek.com, and it’s probably shooting for “more than just prettying up” outdated typography. But what else? The block letters are being replaced by “rounded, lowercase characters,” the pointy star is making way for an organic-looking “sunburst or flower,” and Wal-Mart is becoming Walmart. This gives the company a “kinder, gentler” look, which is in line with its effort to appear more environment- and labor-friendly. But a new look may not be enough. Sometimes a logo is just a logo. After all, Starbucks changed its logo in April, and the “brand brushup” didn’t save it from closing hundreds of stores.

 

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