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A New Look for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

The new pictures of our columnists reflect the personalities of the people you enjoy reading.

Thanks to the oddities of magazine journalism, this issue is dated March even though it went to press in January. So for us, this is a new year—and a new look, as you can see by the photos in this issue. We’ve updated the pictures of our columnists to help convey the personalities of the people you enjoy reading—not just through their words but their body language as well. “This is a high-energy crowd, and we wanted to capture that,” says art director Stacie Harrison.

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The photo shoot was a major undertaking because it also included our colleagues who write for our Web site—51 people in all. (You can see their photos on Kiplinger.com, which also has a fresh new look.) We converted our main conference room into a studio, trundled in racks for clothing, and set up two backgrounds chosen by photo director Wendy Tiefenbacher and photographer Lise Metzger for their “fresh, modern feel.”

Lise, who has worked with Kiplinger in the past, knew the people involved and wanted to capture their “warmth and intelligence.” For instance, Andy Feinberg and Kathy Kristof write about the serious business of investing, but they do it with a smile. “Investing can be bizarre but fun,” says Andy. “On many days, I tap dance to work, like Warren Buffett, one of my investment idols” (but he took the train from New York to make the shoot). Says Kathy (who flew in on a red-eye from Los Angeles), “One thing I’ve learned when writing about stocks is that you’d better keep your sense of humor and your sense of humility.” “Ask Kim” Lankford (who only had to take a cab ride from Capitol Hill) gets more than 500 queries a month but tries to answer “as if I’m sitting down with a family member,” she says.

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Despite the difference in writing styles and subject matter, photographing everyone against the same background was intended to make a clear visual statement: We may say different things, but we all speak with the Kiplinger voice.

In addition to the photos, we’ve added a couple of new features that will appear regularly. In Game Plan, we tackle in depth an issue that’s on the minds of readers—this month, how to use the new rules on health care spending accounts to your advantage. In Countdown to Retirement, we advise readers who are within five years or so of retirement on how to make the transition as smooth as possible—this month, explaining how a financial adviser can help. Look for other changes in the coming months, but all with a common theme: providing Kiplinger advice that’s clear and visually appealing.

Cars, cars, cars. This is the 51st time we’ve produced our annual car comparisons, and this year’s list totals an all-time record 1,693 vehicles, all of which are listed at kiplinger.com/links/carguide. Associate editor Jessica Anderson, who honchos our car coverage, says that many of the new entries represent hybrid versions of gas vehicles or offer new features to satisfy customers who are demanding more options. And yet there still isn’t a car to satisfy every customer—including Jessica’s parents, who were in the market for a hybrid station wagon with all-wheel drive. “It doesn’t exist yet,” says Jessica. Just wait. Maybe it will be model number 1,694 next year.

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