Kiplinger's Personal Finance

December 2011

December issue of KPFM

Cover Story

The Best List, 2011

Our annual awards for standouts in stocks, funds, credit cards, travel, tech, apps, cars and more.

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Table of Contents

AHEAD

From The Editor

Our experts pick the best of, well, almost everything, by Janet Bodnar

More Employers Are Testing Skill -- and Personality -- to Find New Hires

Employers test your skills and psyche to find the best match.

Interview: How the SEC Can Help Lessen Market Volatility

Investment strategist Ed Yardeni says a return of the uptick rule, which makes it harder to sell stocks short, could help make a smoother ride for stock investors.

Money & Ethics

What happens when an office romance ends? by Knight Kiplinger

How Your Charity Measures Up

Donors now have more tools to ensure their money is well spent.

Be Skeptical of Stock Buybacks

They don’t necessarily guarantee higher share prices for investors.

New Trend Caps College Costs at Four Years

Some schools won’t charge extra if you need more than four years.

Real Money

Sometimes paying off big balances takes priority over retirement savings.

My Point of View

Why I’m sticking with stocks, by Knight Kiplinger

Your Mind Your Money

Improve your investing decisions by ignoring short-term predictions, by Robert Frick

Opening Shot

8 stocks to cash in on Europe’s woes, by James K. Glassman

INVESTING

8 Blue-Chip Stocks to Buy Now

Shares of big, high-quality companies have been seriously neglected. These stocks are cheap and attractive.

7 Pitfalls of Exchange-Traded Funds

ETFs have a lot going for them, but they are not without shortcomings.

Amazing Tax-Free Income from Closed-End Muni Bond Funds

These investments are the secret to earning yields as high as 7% for your portfolio. But CEFs are not without risk.

Practical Investing

Columnist Kathy Kristof launches her portfolio, putting her real money into the market so she can help you be a better investor.

Going Long

The Fed still has ammo, by Jeremy J. Siegel

Cash In Hand

Our annual high-yield, no-stocks tofurky portfolio, by Jeffrey R. Kosnett

Kiplinger 25 Update

With foreign markets in turmoil, the international picks among our favorite funds have fallen further than their domestic brethren.

Value Added

The Sequoia Fund's well-executed strategy is no secret, by Steven Goldberg

MONEY

Best Values in Private Colleges, 2011-12

Princeton (private universities), Pomona (liberal-arts colleges) top our rankings of private schools with challenging academics, affordable prices.

Refinance at Today’s Lower Interest Rates to Save Money on Your Mortgage

For a lot of borrowers, it makes sense to refinance.

Year-End Tax Moves

Grab these breaks while you can. Federal budget pressures could eliminate some of them.

Ask Kim

You can take money from a traditional IRA penalty-free at any age if you follow certain rules.

4 Tips to Keep Holiday Spending in Check

From setting a budget to giving gift cards, here are ways to avoid overspending.

LIVING

The Best List, 2011

Our annual awards for standouts in stocks, funds, credit cards, travel, tech, apps, cars and more.

Drive Time

Automakers are dropping prices on 2012 models to help boost sales, by Jessica Anderson

The Lowdown

6 things you need to know about holiday tipping.

My Story

This retired U.S. Army officer's new career is teaching personal finance at a community college.