The Dow industrial average hit 22,000 in August, ushering in yet another noteworthy high. But Americans also reached the big time with a different financial milestone this year — and not in a good way.
If you’ve been waiting for the long-anticipated news that the two dominant players in the home mortgage arena — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — finally have decided to overhaul their outdated credit scoring systems to expand homeownership opportunities for a broader range of consumers, sorry. Your wait just got a lot longer.
Dear Mr. Berko: In 2008, you referred me to a congressman who solved a problem I had with a stupid bureaucrat at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. It took several phone calls and letters, but two months later, it was fixed. I felt obligated to make annual contributions to his political action committee. We have become friendly and have lunch occasionally. At our most recent lunch, I asked why Congress can’t put a health care bill together. His surprising answer was: “Ask Berko!”
Dear Mr. Berko: Our dear daughter is married to an engineer who recently went to work for a company called Rudolph Technologies in New Jersey. He recently advised us to buy $10,000 worth of the stock. We don’t understand what our son-in-law does and we don’t understand what his company does, but he is adamant that we buy this stock. He said he owns 1,670 shares. Unfortunately, we’d have to sell our 300 shares of Pfizer to buy Rudolph Technologies. Please tell us what you think we should do.
The intersection of finance and romance is always a tricky place. And many people even arrive there while still dating, when the level of debt — student loans included — being carried by a potential partner creates concern about the next step in the relationship.
Dear Mr. Berko: If I knew when insiders — for example, officers and directors or Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn — made their purchases, I could do the same and increase my chances of making money. Could you give me the names of some big companies in which insiders have recently taken positions? I’ll buy the shares and, I hope, make a quick profit.
Dear Mr. Berko: I’m a 42-year-old female professional administrator, and I invest for long-term growth. In 2011, I bought 200 shares of LKQ Corp., which sells auto and truck replacement parts, at $23, and a year later, it split 2-for-1. Now I have 400 shares of LKQ, worth about $13,700. But the price growth of the shares seems to be leveling off, and they can’t seem to get above $36. Do you think I should sell LKQ, take a profit and look for another growth stock?