But first . . .

SKINNY ON YOUR ZIP

Ralph: ‘Click here.’

☞ Granted, it’s based on the 2000 census. (Remember 2000? Peace? Prosperity? Budget surpluses as far as the eye could see?) But it’s still makes for an interesting few minutes.

TAX CALCS ON YOUR DRIP

I praised dividend reinvestment plans for the small investor. One of you wrote, in effect, ‘sure – but what a nightmare at tax time, when you sell.’

Michael Joblin: ‘There’s no nightmare at all if you enter each reinvestment transaction, when it occurs, in a home accounting system such as Quicken or Microsoft Money.’

Kim Ness: ‘Yes, keeping track of DRIPS can be a headache – but using EXCEL or another spreadsheet software program makes it a piece of cake. An hour or two each year inputting the dividend purchases is all that is needed to figure out the cost basis for a stock.’

Michael Young: ‘Many (I’d guess most) brokerages produce a cost-of-shares-sold statement for you. It will be an average cost, which is what you should declare unless you identified specific shares to your broker when you sold. You could probably get your broker to provide a report of all of the individual costs if you ask. Of course, if you change brokers and you sell specific bits and pieces, you could have a problem.’

☞ So it depends on your definition of nightmare. Happily, none of this is an issue inside a tax-deferred retirement account. So at least there, you need not give it a second thought.

And now . . .

A TRANSCRIPT NOT TO SKIP

Better still, watch, as Bill Moyers interviews Jack Bogle. (‘It’s just gotten totally out of hand,’ says the author of The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism. ‘My estimate is that the financial sector takes $560 billion a year out of society. Five hundred and sixty billion.’) They are two of the world’s most thoughtful people, and well worth the time.

 

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