Thursday's Personal Finance stories
- Want to buy a new car? The time is now
- Mortgage rates hit new record lows
- Invest like a millionaire
- Three travel tips on rental-car insurance
- U.S. recovery gathers strength but risks remain
But who wants to buy any kind of car right now? If your current vehicle is still going strong, one look at the last jobs report is a good reminder of why now's not the time to take on more debt or dip into savings.
As Waters notes in her story, however, the deals won't last. Isn't that always the way? By the time you feel more confident about buying, everything's going to be more expensive.
It's true with mortgage rates, too. Rates on a 30-year-fixed mortgage loan fell even further this past week, down to 4.57%. But who's buying homes these days, especially now that the home-buyer tax credit is gone? And when people are ready to buy, rates will be higher.
Oh well. While it's tough on the economy that people aren't really spending, who doesn't celebrate U.S. consumers' newfound frugality? Took a lot of pain to get here, but if we can all maintain our new, smarter spending habits, that's a good thing overall.
-- Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor
There's rarely been a better time than now to trade in your used car for a new one. New cars are loaded with deals and rebates while a dearth of used cars is driving up those prices.
See Jennifer Waters's Consumer Confidential.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has hit a record low, ticking down to an average 4.57% in week ended July 8, compared with 4.58% in the prior week, Freddie Mac reported Thursday.
If you're driving a rental car this summer, watch out: you might not have the insurance coverage you think you do.
See Jennifer Openshaw.
The U.S. economy is gathering strength but the high unemployment rate will continue to restrain consumer spending, according to a report prepared by the staff of the International Monetary Fund released Thursday.
See story on U.S. recovery gathering strength but risks remain, IMF says.
The number of people filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits sank 21,000 in the latest week to a still-high 454,000, maintaining a recent see-saw pattern.
See story on jobless claims fall 21,000.
The "Volcker Rule" - a key part of sweeping bank reform legislation on the verge of final passage -- appears to set some pretty tough restrictions on big banks.
See story on new "Volcker Rule" may not be as tough as it seems.
The rich -- if the latest World Wealth Report is any indication -- are truly different than you and me. According to that report, the world's wealthiest investors, some 10 million strong, have allocated their assets in ways that often are out of reach for most investors.
See Robert Powell's Your Portfolio.
General Electric Co. shares have taken a swift and steep tumble in recent weeks, clobbered by concerns that the global economy again is faltering.
See story on investors and Wall Street don't agree on General Electric.
Small-cap stock funds weren't supposed to be the best performing diversified fund category so far this year. Yet investors can still expect big things from these little guys, says Money & Investing Editor Jonathan Burton in This Week in Mutual Funds.
Watch video report on the most unlikely stock-fund winners.
One reason why options have a reputation for being so difficult is a mysterious concept called "implied volatility." This is the unknown factor built into the price of an option.
See Outside the Box.
The top federal official overseeing the government's response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill said Thursday that he's unwilling to assume BP PLC will be able to meet a more optimistic timetable for stifling the rogue well that has poured millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.
See story on Coast Guard unwilling to assume BP timetable.