What's in a name? : Explaining types of homeownership

I am asked often about the differences in homeownership. The answer is fairly straightforward if you think in terms of two distinct categories: what the building looks like and how it’s owned.

Q: I saw a house for sale that looked like a townhome, but they called it a single-family home. How can this be?

How to fairly compare an annuity to a bond

My elderly uncle is convinced that annuities are better than bonds because the annuity will not only pay more on a monthly basis than a similar bond investment, but also would keep paying over the remainder of his lifetime. While that’s true, it doesn’t tell the whole story. There’s a more accurate way of comparing the two.

Because there are so many annuity variants, not to mention bond types, we’ll compare a basic single-life single premium immediate annuity (SPIA) for a 65-year-old male to a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond to keep the comparison apples-to-apples as closely as possible. For those unfamiliar with these investment vehicles, the SPIA in this example returns a guaranteed monthly payment for the rest of your life primarily based on three factors: (1) the amount of principal you contribute upfront, (2) your age and (3) current interest rates. The Treasury bond pays a guaranteed amount of interest twice yearly, also based on current interest rates, but only for 10 years, at which time your original principal is returned.

Real estate transactions: Who pays for what?

When you buy a house or condominium, there is already a bit of sticker shock, so all those little added fees that come up at sign-off can be a bit of a surprise.

Following is a breakdown of fees you should expect to see when you buy or sell a house or condo, and who typically pays them. Fees break down into lender, title and escrow, broker and city and county categories.

Why try to beat the market?

I attended a large foundation’s investment committee meeting the other day to learn about its investment strategy.

One of the active fund managers the foundation uses for large-cap U.S. stock investments attended to discuss their methodology for achieving better returns than the Standard & Poor’s 500.

What's up with today's real estate market?

Following are answers to a few questions about the state of the local real estate market. A number of factors impact both buyers’ and sellers’ options.


Should you invest in an IPO?

Since the beginning of this year, we’ve seen a number of spectacular first-day gains among initial public offerings (IPOs).

Lyft rose 21% before closing with a gain of 9%. Pinterest soared 25% but was overshadowed by Levi Strauss’s 31% advance. And even those impressive returns pale in comparison to Zoom, which – true to its name – zoomed up an astounding 72% by the end of its first day of trading. It’s no surprise that so many IPOs are oversubscribed. But are they really good investments?

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