Table of contents: VOL. 35, NO. 3 - March 1, 2006
COVER STORY
Stop getting pushed around by insurance companies, airlines and other hulking corporations. We have your counterpunch. (more)

Features
Technology has magically lowered the price of buying everything from stocks to airline tickets. But home buyers now pay eight times the closing costs they paid 40 years ago. (more)
Competition and low interest rates have made it harder for banks and credit-card issuers to clean up by lending you money. Solution: More fees! (more)
Consider, just for a moment, the swirl of the modern health-care system. (more)
Homeowner premiums jumped by a third between 2001 and 2004. So you'd think you could get more love, right? Wrong. (more)
Brokers are obligated to see that what they sell fits you...but complaints of unsuitable investments are among the most common. (more)
The Mercers have one house, eight pets, one child and the same money problems as most families. But since they're not married, they don't have the same financial rights--and that's the real challenge. (more)
Seize the breaks you've earned, don't miss what's new, take advantage of your last chance for some favorite write-offs--and, come this April, keep more of your money (more)
home
You might think that a slowing real estate market would make foreclosure investing a snap. Don't bet on it. (more)
The going price for a contemporary Craftsman in Park City, Utah with views of three world-class ski resorts. (more)
how i did it
I'm a pilot who couldn't afford to buy the historical planes I wanted to fly, so I built them from scratch (more)
invest
Q: Shares in Northwest Airlines, now less than $1, are looking cheap. Could that stock have any value after Northwest emerges from bankruptcy? (more)
Our list of recommended funds. (more)
Yes, overseas markets are up big, but chances are you still haven't bought enough of the world. (more)
The average mutual fund manager did edge out the market--again--last year. But the idea that people can really beat the indexes is still a fairy tale. (more)
An inheritance made early retirement possible. Now they just need to add a little kick to their portfolio. (more)
Blue-chip growth stocks for the long run. (more)
With share prices falling and investors again worried about oil, lots of top stocks look downright cheap. (more)
m 2006 auto guide

Nobody wants to skimp on car safety, but some new features and technologies only protect one thing: the manufacturer's bottom line. Below, everything you need to know to decide what's worth paying extra for--and what's worth passing up. (more)
Why 2006 is a terrific year to be in the market for a new car (more)
Meet the winners: These 15 cars and SUVs blend safety, value and performance better than any of their peers (more)
plan
4 questions to ask: Make sure you're prepared for any disaster. (more)
These inexpensive pain-control techniques can help keep chronic pain from taking over your life. (more)
Too much debt? Tax problems? These five steps can get you back on firm footing. (more)
Q: 'I want to open savings accounts for my daughter, age 9, and my son, 7.' (more)
If your friend makes more (or less) money, the dinner check can be...problematic (more)
Rising rates have made taxable money funds the short-term savings champs (more)
Five great films with smart things to say about dough (more)
With more pop in your portfolio, you create a cushion for medical bills, emergencies and, yes, a little fun (more)
Now and then everyone could use some help from a money professional. But what does it cost, and how can you be sure he knows what he's talking about? (more)
Working for a younger manager can crush your ego--or your career. Here's how to make the relationship work. (more)
rules of the game
spend
"Pod" coffeemakers promise quick brews and no mess. We find out which are worth waking up for. (more)
Internet phone services promise Ma Bell quality at Taco Bell prices. Our tech expert's take on which one has the fewest hang-ups. (more)
start

THIS MONTH Video.google.com (more)
Or what to do before the firm freezes your retirement plan (more)
All people who value fuel efficiency--movie stars included--are hot for pricey hybrids. But new diesel models from the likes of VW, Jeep and Mercedes are cleaner, smoother and quieter than you remember. (more)
My new hire just quit. Should he return his signing bonus? (more)
Money Helps: Last April I enrolled in an identity protection plan that's supposed to send me an e-mail alert whenever someone checks my credit report. (more)
Take Social Security statements at face value and you could botch your retirement planning (more)
You don't have to be rich these days to be a force for good, even after you're gone (more)
These days you don't have to be rich to leave a legacy. (more)
the numbers
International, Small Companies Lead Pack (more)
Energy Remains the Market's Big Winner (more)
RECENT ISSUES
FEATURES
To chart a course to your financial goals, it's essential to know your starting point. Take this quiz to see where you are, then follow some simple steps and strategies for getting to the next landmark. |more|