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What the experts say

Bling for your portfolio; Putting Christmas on a budget; Is graduate school worth it?

Bling for your portfolioDiamonds still aren’t exactly an “asset class in their own right,” but over the past year it’s gotten easier to invest in them, said Tara Loader Wilkinson in The Wall Street Journal. Last January, Dutch bank ABN Amro opened an online diamond exchange, and several diamond-related investment funds have sprung up over the past year. Most of the funds are geared toward high-net-worth investors who are looking for more tangible assets. The London-based Dazzling Capital has a comparatively low minimum investment of 10,000 pounds (about $16,700) for its portfolio, which specializes in period jewelry. Yet experts caution that diamonds, like art, really should be bought for enjoyment, not investment. Moreover, it may make more sense for investors to buy diamonds directly—among other reasons because that way “they get to wear the jewelry when they want.”

Putting Christmas on a budgetParents may not relish telling their teens and “tweens” that they can’t have every­thing on their holiday wish lists, said Jennifer Barrett in Money. But doing so can teach them valuable budgeting skills that will outlast the latest video game. First “tell your teens how much you plan to spend on them.” Then ask them to research prices and prioritize their requests accordingly. If their lists exceed their budgets, suggest solutions for earning and saving the amount needed to eventually get them what they want. The same logic can apply if they plan to give gifts to family and friends. Help your kids set budgets and be smart shoppers, and encourage them to think outside the store-bought box. What your teens “lack in funds” they can make up for with “time and talent.”

Is graduate school worth it?Going to graduate school may seem like the perfect antidote to a gloomy job market, said Sarah Morgan in SmartMoney. But it could actually do more harm than good. Would-be students need to consider not only the price of tuition and the “opportunity cost” of lost wages, but also the possibility that an advanced degree could narrow their job prospects down the road. “In some cases, volunteer work, internships, or even travel could enhance your résumé for far less than the cost of a degree.” Still bent on getting that degree? Before you apply, consult the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook for wage and growth trends in your chosen field, and then “go through a mock job search” for that field to see how things might pan out in the real world.

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