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Social insecurity

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Don’t worry: Social Security isn’t about to go bankrupt” But some little^known strategies may boost your benefits” Maximizing your social Security benefits, which account for about 40 percent of all income among people age 65 and older, is crucial to retiring with a comfortable, sustainable standard of living. But talking with seniors in recent months, I have heard deep misgivings...

WHERE TO

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A record’setting rally has investors coming back to stocks, but is it too later1 A dozen picks that can help hedge your bets for the year ahead. Barely a yea rafter the stock market and the economy pulled back from the brink of collapse, there’s no consensus about what might be next Some fund managers are upbeat (see our Annual Investor Roundtable on page 50), while others fret about...

DIY NATION

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No law degree or auto repair experience? No problem! Challenging economic times have brought out Americans’ self-sufficient streak. AS AN ATTORNEY, STEPHANIE GARRABRANT-SIERRA IS NO stranger to long hours, endless troubleshooting and reasoning her way through complex problems. Lately, though, she’s finding that this type of work isn’t confined to the courtroom. In fact, many of her toughest cases...

THE RECESSION RETURNS

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Unemployment is high, consumers arc still loaded with debt, the government’s budget deficit is soaring all ingredients for a return to a recession, some analysts contend. The best stock defense in a recession, say some pros, is to go with big companies that sell goods worldwide and don’t necessarily need an economic rebound to make money Goldcorp (GG, $43) BELIEVE THE COUNTRY is headed for...

They’re Still Hurting

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Buyers of auction-rate securities were among the crash s first victims. Two years after their assets were frozen, some are still in limbo. FOR MOST OF US, THE RECENT Financial panic and stock market crash are a receding memory. But for thousands of investors stuck in auction- rate securities, it’s a nightmare from which they still haven’t woken up. We shouldn’t forget them—or the lessons to be...

The New Way To Earn 7%

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AFTER TH E EPIC LOWS and soaring highs of the stock market over the past year, it’s understandable that many people just want something stable in their portfolio—an investment that pays them steady income and provides a sense of security. So it’s no surprise people have flocked to bond funds, pouring more than a quarter of a trillion dollars into them during the first nine months of 2009. But...

HEALTH WHILE PEOPLE HAVEN’T BEEN

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Reduced to setting their own bones or stitching their own wounds (not yet, anyway), many are trying to avoid a visit to their general prac- tioners. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 44 percent of respondents say that, because of cost, they’re now relying on home remedies or over-the-counter drugs instead of seeing a doctor, up from 35 percent in February 2009. And with the...

THE ECONOMIC FAST TRACK

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The most optimistic investment strategists point to several economic indicators as evidence that the economy can rebound strongly in 2010. Businesses arc restocking inventories, exports are up, and consumers arc still spending. Plus, companies have cut costs considerably, which could push profit margins higher. All that can bode well for the stock market, too. Ingersoll Rand (ir, $36) IF THE...

Bite-sized advice

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Wthan a rudimentary way for friends to send each other short updates. But many Twitter followers found that they could make tweets more useful by including links to longer pieces elsewhere on the Web. So while a tweet by itself might tell impressionable investors all they want to know (“Today is probably the day to buy BAC on the dip”), it could also link them to more detailed information. Joanna...

Betting (On) The House

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Wynn Resorts (WYNN, $62) LAST MARCH, Wynn’s stock was under $15 a share, gambling revenue at its Vegas resorts was reeling, and the company was wrapping up what turned out to be a money-losing quarter. But by December, the stock had quadrupled off its March lows. People are gradually returning to Las Vegas, and in October Wynn completed an initial public offering for its Macau, China, casino...

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