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Finance questions: Have you changed investments?

We asked

Have you changed your approach to investing this year as a result of the declines in stock prices and interest rates?

I have been more selective with individual stock purchases. It's starting to be a perfect time to buy if you're a contrarian. Just check out the balance sheets. Most high-quality companies can't buy their own stock back fast enough.

John Keller, Lutz

I have decided to hold back on trading. It is too enticing with all of the bargain stocks floating around, the acquisitions, mergers and buyouts. However, it's tough to pick the winner. I'm holding out for the moment that everything shoots back toward the roof.

Andrew Butler, Port Richey

The big change in my investment strategy was to become more diversified. I sold Amgen stock and put the money into T. Rowe Price Retirement Income Fund, which is about 60 percent bonds and 40 percent equities.

David Vaurio, Trinity

I haven't really changed my approach. I try to keep a balance in hard assets and strong currencies, avoiding the U.S. dollar when possible.

Frank Macauley,

Madeira Beach

No one should change basic investment strategy just because of a market correction!

Billy Ball, Pinellas Park

We have trimmed money market accounts and invested in more intermediate-term bonds and preferred stocks to maintain a higher interest rate. We have also made some money swing trading aggressive short funds in the past six months.

Tom Wood, Ocala

I've used options to take short positions, especially in the financials. I have used options to go long (short-term) when I believe a company is under-valued and sell after a modest increase.

Brian Rink, Tampa

You asked

I have about $10,000 in

savings bonds stretching from 1986 to 1999, half in parents' names and half in children's (both 17). I would like to convert them into Roth IRA contributions. What are the tax ramifications of cashing in the

bonds or can I convert

them?

No conversions allowed. If the bonds are cashed, the owner owes income tax on the accrued interest. An additional caution: The extra income from bonds cashed this year may have a negative effect on financial aid eligibility if a child will be going to college in 2009.

If bonds held in the parents' names are cashed when the children are in college, the interest income may be all or partly tax-free.

Requirements include family income below $80,600 (singles) or $128,400 (couples). You also must have tuition expenses that are not covered by scholarships or a 529 college savings plan. See IRS Publication 970 for details.

Next week's question: What's your favorite low-cost (or free) way to enjoy life in the Tampa Bay area?

To ask a question, make a comment or answer the Money Question of Week, e-mail hhuntley@sptimes.com or write Helen Huntley, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Visit her MoneyTalk blog (blogs.tampabay.com/money) for more money information.

Next week's question

What's your favorite

low-cost (or free) way to enjoy life in the Tampa

Bay area?

To ask a question, make a comment or answer the Money

Question of Week, e-mail hhuntley@sptimes.com or write Helen Huntley, PO Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Visit her MoneyTalk blog (blogs.tampabay.com/money) for more money information.

Finance questions: Have you changed investments? 04/26/08 [Last modified: Saturday, April 26, 2008 4:32am]

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