STOCKS

John Lemon: ‘To hell with that doom and gloom stuff. How about some more stock picks? Baby needs a new pair of shoes!’

☞ eBay in the fourth?

BONDS

Larry Francis: ‘I am thinking of recommending inflation-protected Series I Savings Bonds to my 80-year-old mother-in-law, but I wasn’t sure if they get stepped up in value upon death as other items do. Would they be a useful estate-planning device so that no one gets stuck with the interest and capital gains? I realize the payout would be some of each.’

☞ Bad news, counsels the estimable Less Antman. Although I-Bonds are in many respects a good deal (see savingsbonds.gov), Savings bonds do not step up in basis on the date of death, as other securities do. (If you tomorrow should inherit 1000 shares of Johnson & Johnson that your daddy paid $1 a share for before The Great War, you have the option of ratcheting up your cost basis to the value at the time of his death – about $95 – so that when you sell, you avoid the taxable gain — $94,000 in this example – that would otherwise be realized from the sale.) The redeemer of a savings bond is taxed on the excess of the redemption price over the original cost whether he is the original purchaser or the grieving beneficiary. Furthermore, with a savings bond, all of the increase in value is interest income. There is no capital gain. That is presumably why there is no step-up in basis.

BOOKS

Craig Furnas: ‘If you want FREE unabridged audiobooks that play through your computer, go to broadcast.com.’

TIVO

Eric Batson: ‘The best one I found …. http://www.tivofaq.com/hack/ Somewhat daunting, but intriguing fro sure.

MUTUAL FUND COST CALCULATOR

Mark Centuori: ‘Given the strong endorsement you gave to the Personal Fund site in your column (and let’s not forget the self-promotion in Mutual Funds and Worth), the link that you continue to have to it, and the page on the site that still bears your name, I’d expect that you’d have done your readers the courtesy of announcing that you’re no longer affiliated with the venture. I was disappointed at having to read about it in Mutual Funds. I guess ‘full disclosure’ is a one-way street.’

☞ I stand fully behind what I wrote in Mutual Funds and Worth about the concept of a personal fund, and I continue the link to the Mutual Funds Cost Calculator, because I think it provides a terrific (free) service. The fact that my business relationship with Personal Fund did not work out seems to me not particularly relevant, but I apologize if you feel betrayed or deceived in some way. That was not my intent!

 

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