Kiplinger's Personal Finance

February 2012

February issue of KPFM

Cover Story

Save Thousands in 15 Minutes or Less

You'll be surprised how much you can pocket in so little time.

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Table of Contents

AHEAD

From the Editor

Proactive strategies for coping with financial chaos, by Janet Bodnar

Why a Long-Term, Fixed-Rate Home Loan Makes Sense

A long-term, fixed rate loan at today’s rates gives you flexibility.

Big Bargains in Bank Stocks

Dodge & Cox sticks with its strategy.

Money & Ethics

When your favorite charity sells out, by Knight Kiplinger

Girl Scouts Earning Badges for Personal-Finance Skills

When your favorite charity sells out, by Knight Kiplinger

Girl Scouts Earning Badges for Personal-Finance Skills

New badges, inspired by the state of the economy, promote financial literacy.

Can a Credit Score Kill a Job Offer?

Your credit score can’t harm a job offer, but your credit history can, so be upfront about any problems.

Opening Shot

Alternative investments for a smoother ride, by James K. Glassman

Your Mind Your Money

When tightwads and spendthrifts mix, by Robert Frick

INVESTING

8 Dividend-Growth Stock Picks

Investing in companies that regularly raise their payouts means fatter returns ahead.

Why You Don’t Need TIPS Now

Rising prices aren't on the horizon, but these hedges will protect you against inflation in the long run.

Alice Rivlin:

The Former White House budget chief thinks Congress squandered its opportunity to rein in the national debt but may still come to its senses.

Value Added

Finally, a variable annuity worth considering, by Steven Goldberg

Practical Investing

Six factors to consider when picking stocks, by Kathy Kristof

Morningstar Shakes Up Its Mutual Fund Ratings System

The czar of star ratings unveils a new system that it hopes will better identify future winners.

Kiplinger 25 Update

An unusual mortgage fund gets off to a fast start.

Breaking the Caffeine Habit

Even at half-price, Green Mountain's stock will give you the jitters.

Is Amazon.com's Stock in Bubble Territory?

With a P/E ratio approaching triple digits, it's like déjà vu all over again for the giant Internet retailer.

ETF Spotlight

This ETF holds only 30 real estate investment trusts.

Cash In Hand

The great yield mirage, by Jeffrey R. Kosnett

Fund Spotlight

Find great deals in munis with this little-known fund that looks for bargains among the highest-quality tax-free bonds.

Going Long

Markets seem to be in lock step, by Jeremy J. Siegel

MONEY

Save Thousands in 15 Minutes or Less

You'll be surprised how much you can pocket in so little time.

New Rules, Resources Make It Easier to Find Individual Health Insurance

Take advantage of new consumer tools to find affordable policies.

Best Values in Public Colleges, 2012

The 100 schools on our list deliver a quality education at an affordable price.

4 Online Tools to Fix Your Finances

Go online to budget, learn the basics, save money and ditch the paper.

Escape the Debt Trap

If your loans are holding you back—or you simply want to chip away at what you owe—try these strategies.

Ask Kim

Kim Lankford suggests good mutual funds for children.

Beware Auto-Enrollment in Overdraft Protection

Keep tabs on your balance, or you could be forced to pay hefty fees.

LIVING

Your Guide to Bargain Travel in 2012

To keep your costs from soaring, start planning your summer vacation now.

Giant Screens, Smaller Prices

Experts say weak demand will drive some monster TVs below $1,000.

Drive Time

Dealing with car dealers, by Jessica Anderson

The Lowdown

What you need to know about political donations.

My Story

Ken Proskie was laid off at age 52. Instead of looking for another corporate job, he struck out on his own.