Buying stock where you work
Should you invest in your employer? asked Chris Seabury at Yahoo. There is no simple answer: Buying stock in the company that signs your checks "has benefits and drawbacks that differ from investing elsewhere." As an employee, you may get a discount on the stock's price, and you may have better knowledge than the average investor of the company's performance. The pitfall, of course, is that if the firm runs into trouble, "you might have to face the risk of both unemployment and a decline in the stock." Experts suggest capping your investments in company stock at 5 to 10 percent of your overall portfolio. And as you get closer to retirement, minimize risk by reducing "your allocation even more."
Payback for home equity loans
If you have an open line of home equity credit, brace yourself for higher payments, said Lisa Prevost at The New York Times. These loans "were aggressively marketed from 2004 to 2007, and now the bills are coming due" as the typical 10-year breaks on paying back principal expire. Experts suggest that this is a good time to review the terms of your equity line. If you have doubts about being able to make the higher payments, explore your options with the lender. If there's equity in your home, you can refinance the loan; if not, ask the lender for a forbearance plan. "All lenders will look at this differently from the perspective of the borrower's situation," said mortgage consultant Allen Jones. "But it starts with the borrower understanding where they are."
Are platinum cards worthwhile?
It may be time to cut up the platinum credit card, said AJ Smith at Credit.com. While such sought-after cards offer "major perks for cardholders," they're not for everyone. The first thing to consider in deciding to go platinum is your debt level. Customers already in debt should avoid these cards and look instead for products with lower interest rates. If you're a debt-free frequent traveler, however, a platinum card might be a smart option. They often offer airline perks, including points, rapidly accumulating miles, rebates, access to airport lounges, and special upgrades and amenities at hotels. And for big purchases, platinum cards can offer "longer coverage for purchases that are fraudulent, damaged, or lost" — features that could make a premium card's annual fee worth it.