Kiplinger's Personal Finance

September 2011

September issue of KPFM

Cover Story

Do This or That?

20 tough financial questions and the right answers for you.

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Table of Contents

AHEAD

From The Editor

We could end up paying higher debit fees without seeing a reduction in retail store prices, by Janet Bodnar

Interview With James Angel: Financial Reform Stuck in Low Gear

A year after Dodd-Frank became law, missed deadlines pile up.

Money & Ethics

Online retailers should collect sales taxes, by Knight Kiplinger

Use of Prepaid Swipe Cards on the Rise

Expect to see more prepaid cards, but watch out for fees.

Homeowners Insurance Rates Are Headed Higher

Storm damage will hike premiums, but homeowners can get a break.

College Students Turn Into CEOs

Entrepreneurs aren’t waiting to graduate to start a business.

Discovering Value

Successful bargain hunters must go against the crowd and, at times, look foolish, by Whitney Tilson and John Heins

Opening Shot

These 12 stocks have held strong through the rocky markets of recent years. Start buying now, by James K. Glassman

Your Mind Your Money

Learn to control your fear and profit from crisis, by Robert Frick

INVESTING

Vanguard’s Fad-Free, Low-Fee Approach

By keeping costs low and avoiding fads, the king of index funds appeals to wary investors.

4 Hidden Surprises Lurking in Your Mutual Funds

Closet index funds, foreign funds with big U.S. stakes and other surprises may be hiding in your portfolio.

5 Investing Strategies to Protect Your Portfolio in a Bear Market

The approaches of these mutual funds can help you defend your wealth.

2011 Mutual Fund Rankings

Stock funds overcame widespread angst to score impressive gains. We list which funds did best and which are worth owning now.

The Lure of Rising Dividends

Only companies that have boosted payouts for at least 25 straight years qualify for this ETF.

Cash in Hand

The impending death of the tax-free bond market has been greatly exaggerated, by Jeffrey R. Kosnett

Dodge & Cox Stock Loads Up on Drug Stocks

The managers of this Kiplinger 25 fund see good deals in the pharmaceutical sector.

MONEY

Do This or That?

20 tough financial questions and the right answers for you.

How to Get a Better Deal at Your Bank

Focus on the features important to you, then check our list of low-fee and no-fee accounts.

Rethinking Retirement

How to fix Social Security, by Mary Beth Franklin

Pensions: Take a Lump Sum or Not?

New rules will mean smaller pension payouts next year. Get it right the first time; there are no do-overs.

4 Moves that Can Lower Your Credit Score

You may be damaging your score without knowing it.

6 Student Credit Cards That Make the Grade

These cards offer reasonable rates, generous rewards and no annual fee.

Ask Kim

Kimberly Lankford explains how this year's storms will affect your homeowners premiums.

LIVING

Best Value Cities, 2011

Our annual list is a surprising lineup of affordable places with healthy economies and fun stuff to do.

Best Smart Phones for Camera Quality

The latest mobile phones also make good digital cameras and camcorders, especially for snapshot shooters.

Drive Time

Green cars make cents, by Jessica Anderson

The Lowdown

6 things to know about finding unclaimed assets.

My Story

Dianez Smith of Silver Spring, Md., spent a year looking for a job with management potential. She finally found one by standing on a sidewalk.