Ingram: Living frugally is all about value

Going the do-it-yourself route on home-improvement projects isn’t always the most cost-effective way, says Leah Ingram. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it could cost more in the long run.

The role of reverse mortgages

Authors of a report that was published March 2014 in Journal of Financial Planning argue that reverse mortgages, which are loans that provide borrowers with cash payments that are based on the equity of a borrower’s home, should play an important role in retirees’ financial planning.

Bright spots in home-equity loans

Homeowner equity rose by nearly $4 trillion in the 2 years that ended 2013, or an average of $54,000 per homeowner, according to Federal Reserve.

IRA transfers: Trust your trustees

A U.S. Tax Court ruling in April 2014 restricts how often that you can move funds between an individual retirement account (IRA) and similar accounts.

Stocks hit the road

You likely have seen the orange cones on your local highways this summer. In addition to continuing projects, the Obama administration in April 2014 proposed a 4-year plan that would boost highway funding 21 percent by 2018.

Easing tax penalties of Affordable Care Act

The deadline for signing up for health-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act without incurring a tax penalty passed March 31, 2014. However, if you missed the deadline, you still can avoid or minimize tax penalties on your 2014 tax return.

Universal Life finds legs in uncertain 2014

If you seek to safeguard retirement funds, an Indexed Universal Life (IUL) policy, which is a life-insurance policy that’s linked to a stock-market index, might be a good strategy in 2014, says Robert A. Fink of financial-planning company RAF Strategies.

Keep an eye on your ATM

Old software that’s in ATMs could put your financial information at risk, according to Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC).

Analysts’ accuracy

A January 2014 study suggests that 2014 will be a good year to put more trust in analysts’ financial forecasts for a company’s stock.

Financial adviser data: Are you getting the whole story?

Savvy investors know to consult Financial Industry Regulatory Association’s (FINRA) BrokerCheck service when they want to see whether their financial advisers have records of criminal or regulatory disciplinary actions that were brought on by charges that were filed by clients.

Hitting the hard stuff

Beer stocks have gone flat over the past 12 months, but stocks that are in the distillery business have experienced a good buzz—they’re up 14.5 percent during the past 12 months.

Tighter limits now apply for reverse mortgages

Researchers say the new program provides safeguards for consumers who seek a reverse mortgage, which is a loan that provides borrowers with cash payments that are based on the equity of a borrower’s home.

Monitor your credit

Data breaches that recently hit Michaels, Neiman Marcus and Target led to a rise of credit-monitoring services that the retailers provide. Unfortunately, those services are limited in their effectiveness.

College degree worth it

Amid stories of student-loan debt, you might question whether a college education is worth the expense. It is, according to a February 2014 study by Pew Research Center, particularly for recent graduates.

Credit unions skip credit-card arbitration rule

Our July/August 2013 issue reported on the forced arbitration clauses that Charles Schwab attempted to impose on its brokerage customers. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says a similar problem exists in the credit-card industry.