Investing boils down to style, not gender

Q Do women investors (I'm one) invest differently than from men? I don't mean specific companies, but in terms of style.

M.C., New York

A Some studies suggest that women investors tend to be more cautious or conservative than male investors. But "a good investor is a good investor," irrespective of gender, says Paula Hogan, who heads up Hogan Financial Group, in Milwaukee.

Ms. Hogan doesn't believe that there should be major differences between male and female investors.

"Know thyself, and you'll be a better investor," says Hogan. "You'll know why you want to invest and what to invest in."

Also, know the fundamentals of investing. Read widely about the subject, she says.

Q I plan to sell two mutual funds. I already paid the taxes each year on dividends and capital gains. And I reinvested all dividends. Do I have to pay taxes again on dividends when I sell the two funds?

R.O., Huntington Beach, Calif.

A "Go surfing, don't pay taxes twice," says Ed Slott, a CPA in Rockville Centre N.Y., and editor of "Ed Slott's IRA Advisor" (800-663-1340).

Add all the reinvested dividends into your original cost, to step up your cost-basis, says Slott.

Any tax that you have to pay would be on the capital gain, minus your stepped-up cost basis, he says.

Your mutual-fund company should be able to send you a statement of your purchases and your final cost basis.

Q I'm in the military and want to start investing in a mutual fund. Are there any agencies that are worthwhile that support military personnel?

Name withheld, via e-mail

A If by "agencies" you mean mutual funds, all major fund companies could provide services to you wherever you are based.

One fund company, however, was specifically created to serve military personnel: USAA, at 800-531-8777.

Its insurance division is still targeted at military families and dependents. But its investment arm, including mutual funds, "is now open to the general public," says a USAA field representative.

Questions about finances? Write:

Guy Halverson

The Christian Science Monitor

500 Fifth Ave., Suite 1845

New York, NY 10110


(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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