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Some shopping, investing and giving things to consider before 2011 ends

By Dian Vujovich

With not that many days until 2011 comes to an end, and even fewer ones for Christmas shopping, the following might add some “Ho Ho Ho” to your life and the season.

1.Shopping. Can’t find that extraordinary gift? Then let me introduce you to AHALife.com, a site that the ads read offer extraordinary products from around the world.

Not for anyone low on funds, or those totally into real coupon-clipping bargain shopping, this could be just the place the top 10 percenters are looking for. Example: One of today’s featured items was a Limited Edition Reindeer Leather Backpack. Okay, Rudolph might not be a fan but hey, purchase it and for sure it will light up someone’s face. Plus, no doubt last forever. Price: $1,100.

2.Re the Santa Claus Rally. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Santa Clause rally probably doesn’t cover the days you may have thought.

“Everybody likes to say any sort of year-end rally is the Santa Claus rally,” said Jeff Hirsch of the Stock Trader’s Almanac in an interview at Yahoo.finance earlier this week.

To clarify things, he says, “The Santa Claus rally is the last five days of the year plus the first two days of the next.”

And if performance over the last half century is any guide, Hirsch said the average gain during those seven trading days has been between 1.5 and 1.7 percent. But as every good little boy and girl investor knows, past performance is no indication of what the future will bring.

3.Don’t miss this IRS charitable giving opportunity for oldish IRA investors. Something not to be overlooked during this season of giving is the fact that any IRA owner, aged 70 or older, can directly transfer tax-free up to $100,000 each year to an eliglibe charity.

Of course there’s an IRS catch: This giving opportunity is only available to those with IRAs. Anyone with a SIMPLE IRA or aemployer-sponsored retirement plan (SEP) isn’t eligible. There are more particulars so contact your tax advisor and/or see IRS Publication 590 for details

4.And finally, sticking with that charitable giving notion, consider this: If truly troubled by the America’s huge deficit, why not take a tip from one South Florida property owner and bequeath your home to Uncle Sam.

That’s what a Coral Gables man did and his home fetched $1.17 million at auction last week. Plus, he left $1 million more to the gov to boot.

How’s that for holiday spirit!

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