PF QUESTIONS, A selection of responses to readers' financial questions
Q:I recently started investing in a new, small mutual fund, but I can't find quotations on its net asset value [share price] in any of the newspapers. Can you tell me where I can find out how it's doing? A:Mutual fund companies transmit closing prices for their funds to the National Association of Securities Dealers at the end of each business day. The NASD then transmits those figures to the wire services like the Associated Press and United Press International and to financial newspapers like the Wall Street Journal.
But the NASD does not accept prices of mutual funds with assets of $25 million or fewer than 1,000 shareholders. So until your fund meets those criteria, you'll have to check on it by phone if it's a no-load fund.
If you bought it though a broker or a financial planner, you can call that person for the latest information about the fund.
Q:A friend told me he just estimated his tax bill for 1988. His employer withholds all his taxes, so why should he bother with this now?
A:Your friend may be making plans to avoid trouble later. First, this is a good time to see if you are having enough taxes withheld. If not, you still have a few months to have your employer increase your withholding so you won't get a big tax bill later.
On the other hand, if you're having too much taken out, you could be getting a little extra money for your pocket the rest of the year. (It might come in handy around the holidays.)
If you want to check on your withholding now, ask your employer for a worksheet and a new Form W-4 or call the nearest Internal Revenue Service office. Q:I'd like to invest in United States Treasury securities, probably T-bills. How can I find out before the auction what the rate will be?
A:You can't. The discount rate will not be set until the auction actually takes place. (The discount means that the security is issued at a price lower than its face value and the return on investment is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the security at maturity.)
It's fairly easy to figure out what the rate will be by checking the yields of T-bills issued the week before. Usually, you'll be within a tenth of a percentage point either way.
You can find this information in the financial sections of most newspapers (including this one, where rates are usually published on Monday).
If you have a question, please send it to: Personal Finance Questions, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. Questions should be brief and of interest to as many readers as possible. We'll answer as many questions here as we can, but we cannot answer letters individually.