Magazine article Newsweek

Money Notes: The

Magazine article Newsweek

Money Notes: The

Article excerpt

CREDIT CARDS

Cafeterias Go Plastic (We Don't Mean Food)

The quickest way to lose money? Las Vegas, of course. But parents face similar odds every morning when they stuff some lunch money into their kids' pockets before sending them off to school. A new Web site, myLunchMoney.com, lets parents charge those meals to their MasterCard or Visa. The service, currently offered in California, will go national this spring, says School-Link Technologies, the Santa Monica firm that runs the Web site and provides other services to some 10,000 lunchrooms nationwide. Parents might eventually add trip fees and library fines to their tab. This could be bad news for bullies, though, who may no longer be able to count on shaking down skinny kids for extra cash.

BONDS A Safe Investor Haven Is Getting Crowded A million dollars a minute. That's how much investors have been pouring into bond funds, seeking a secure alternative to a shaky stock market. The total so far this year, $17.4 billion, follows a record high $51 billion last year, according to AMG Data Services. Bonds returned an average of 8.42 percent in 2001, while the S&P 500 fell 11.88 percent. But decent bond returns usually last only as long as interest rates remain low. So if the economy comes roaring back and rates rise, the funds' share prices could take a tumble. It wouldn't be the first reversal of fortune for fund investors, who, if history is any guide, have an unfortunate habit of buying high and selling low. …

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