By William Hickey, MaryVan Doren, Laura Logan

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Online Investor Investors: Avoid making the most common tax goof Even the most savvy investors suffer from amnesia of sorts. When you sell a fund, always remember to include the long-term capital gains and dividend profits you reinvested when calculating how much you paid for the fund. Forgetting about that later reinvestment, especially over the course of the 10 years or so that most investors keep a fund, is easy to do—but it could raise your taxable capital gains profits by thousands of dollars.

If you're a buy-and-hold investor with at least $50,000 to invest, a portfolio of high-quality corporate, Treasury or municipal bonds is probably your least-expensive option. Mutual funds offer one-stop diversification, but typically cost much more to maintain than a portfolio of bonds. For instance, until you own more than $100,000 in Treasury bills and notes, it won't cost you a dime to manage them through the government's Treasury-Direct program. — Kiplinger’s Retirement Report Retire from your 401(k) years If retirement doesn’t turn out to be the Norman Rockwell scene you imagine, try becoming a consultant.

The Industry Standard Inspect the unexpected Buying a house is exciting and time consuming. So even though it may seem like one more bothersome detail, get a prepurchase inspection done. An inspection will yield a catalog of problems, shortcomings, failures, and their possible remedies; it will help you make a wise investment—instead of a costly mistake! If you still decide to buy a house in which problems are found, you’ll know what trouble spots lie ahead and can better negotiate purchase terms.

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