Handle money wisely and don't fear the tax man

We mistakenly wrote (March 6) that Warren Buffett's monthly income was $11 million and change, figured at 8 percent on his $16.6 billion pile. But reader Martin H. Raila pleasantly pointed out we short-changed Mr. Buffett.

We should have made Mr. Buffett's piggy bank deposit $110 million every 30 days, not a mere $11 million. OK to put away the tin cup.


WITH THE Dow Jones industrial average perched this morning at a record 5,642.42 -- up 1,644 points, or 41 percent, from this date last year -- we present suggestions for your investments, bank accounts, taxes, etc.:

"Before buying mutual funds that shout, 'We Were No. 1 Last Year!' watch out -- lucky sprinters far outnumber lucky marathoners. Don't rely on luck. Buy funds with solid, long-term results." (Money, March)


"Maryland banks requiring no minimum balances include American National, Provident and Washington Savings." (Consumer Reports, March)

"Over half of homeowners who fight too-high property taxes have them reduced. For instructions, send $2 for 'How to Fight Property Taxes,' National Taxpayers Union, 108 N. Alfred St., Alexandria, Va. 22314.

MONTHLY MILLIONS: "Warren Buffett's Wealth Hits $16.6 Billion," says a USA Today headline. I figured that if Mr. Buffett invests that pile at 8 percent, he could plunk $11,066,666 in his piggy-bank every month -- and still have his $16.6 billion. Jealous?

CALCULATOR CORNER: A Forbes March 11 article shows that if you bought Wal-Mart stock, a brokerage house "Nifty Fifty" favorite, in 1972, you would show a 15,854 percent increase. Stated another way, a $1,000 investment would now be worth $158,540 (no misprint.)

TODAY'S CHOICES: How about today's "Nifty Fifty?" The 1996 list in the above-mentioned article include Amgen, Anheuser Busch, Bed Bath & Beyond, Cisco Systems, Coca-Cola, Gillette, Eli Lilly, Linear Technology, Microsoft, Oracle, PepsiCo., Pfizer, Wrigley, etc.

MARCH WINDS: "Sixty-eight percent of U.S. households do not have a personal computer." (Fortune, March 18)

"For dramatic returns, buy 'small-cap' stocks." (Smart Money, March, with suggestions we will summarize Friday.)

WOMAN'S ANGLE: "Most women entrepreneurs say their biggest problem is 'getting capital,' as banks assume women are poor credit risks. But there's evidence to battle this 'u misconception. A Dun & Bradstreet study shows women-owned ventures are at least as reliable as those owned by men." (Working Woman, March, with helpful ideas such as, "Invite your banker to lunch," etc.)


TAX TIP: "Most married taxpayers pay less when they file jointly, but not always. If one spouse had unusually high medical expenses not deductible on a joint return because costs exceed 7.5 percent of combined income, it might save money to file separately. Check your accountant." (Working Families)

CAREER CORNER: "Put instructions in writing to make sure subordinates understand what you want. Writing things down also keeps your memory fresh, reminds you of commitments and keeps a 'paper trail' for future planning." ("Small Business Troubleshooter" by Roger Fritz, $16.99.)

LAST, NOT LEAST: "Almost eight and a half years after the Crash of 1987, the Dow Jones average is more than triple its level of 'Black Monday.'" (CNBC News)

"Penny-pinchers should check out credit unions -- nonprofit organizations which return surplus funds to customers with less-expensive services." (Tightwad Gazette)

"March is a good month in which to buy a good used car. Some of the best, most reasonably priced used cars are sold privately. Always have a licensed mechanic check out your prospective purchase." (Car & Travel)

"Expenses you can't deduct include funerals, commuting, meals while working late, marriage licenses, home repairs, personal legal bills." (Ernst & Young.)


"Seventy-five percent of 401(k) plans have administrative fees paid by employer, rather than by participants." (Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, March)

Pub Date: 3/06/96

For the record