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Bits and pieces of interesting money stuff

By Dian Vujovich

While going through one of my many piles of clippings from newspapers, and newsletters that I’ve saved figuring one day each might be worth a blog or column, I’ve decided to can that idea and decrease the pile size by using a few as money bits and pieces.

So with no further ado, consider the following:

•If you think you’ve had a hard time managing money from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009, performance of the endowments at Harvard, Yale and Duke topped the list of biggest losses. This based on research from 842 institutions examined by National Association of College and University Business Officer’s 2009 Commonfund Study of Endowments. Harvard lost 30 percent ($10.9 billion); Yale, 29 percent ($6.5 billion); and Duke 28 percent ($1.7 billion). All according to the March 2010 issue of Registered Rep magazine.

•Seems as though financial advisors don’t even trust financial companies much when the chips are down. According to the May 2010 issue of Registered Rep magazine, the question asked of reps was: “How trustworthy do you personally consider each type of firm to be?” The types of firms included diversified financial services companies, asset management firms, insurance companies, boutique investment firms and hedge fund advisors.

Diversified financial services firms scored the worst,and while improving since the 4th quarter of 2008 through the 1st quarter of 2010, results were low and nothing to rave about. Seems like nobody trusts nobody during an extended down market.

•If you’re feeling generous and have a family member or friend who could use some financial assistance and have the money to give, give it. Ways to consider doing so include the Annual Gift Exclusion (AGE) that allows taxpayers to transfer $13,000 a year to an unlimited number of individuals; a total lifetime tax-exempt transfer of wealth totaling $1 million that’s separate from the AGE; custodian accounts; and plain old money gifts.

These tidbits from the Pocket Watch, a newsletter that Richard J. Barron, a West Palm Beach board certified specialist in wills, trusts, and estates sends out.

A great line from that same newsletter relating to outright money gift giving that’s worth noting: “No one appreciates the value of a dollar like person who earned it (and paid taxes on it).”

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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