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Kiplinger
May 24, 2020

Does the Stock Market Close Early for Memorial Day?
The stock market gets a full day off for Memorial Day. The bond market gets Monday off too, not to mention an early close ahead of the holiday weekend.

Kiplinger
May 22, 2020

Health Savings Account Limits for 2021
Annually adjusted contribution limits and other requirements must be met if you're covering health care costs with an HSA.

Kiplinger
May 22, 2020

14 Bankruptcy Filings Chalked Up to COVID-19
The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has sent global markets into bear territory and economies into recession. And as the pandemic stretches on, it's inducing a growing number of bankruptcy filings.

Though, in most cases, COVID-19 has simply acted as the straw that broke the camel's back.

Consider the retail industry, which has endured a particularly difficult past two months. Most "non-essential" retailers are feeling the pain, However, those that were already overloaded with debt, as well as suffering from long-term declines amid changing tastes and Americans' swelling adoption of online shopping, have been pushed over the edge.

But it's not just retail. COVID-19 is forcing companies across several industries to seek out Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and other types of relief. Consider the energy sector, where the oil declines of 2014-16 weakened a number of exploration and production companies, only to have coronavirus-sparked demand slumps finish off the job. Financially wobbly companies in the restaurant and entertainment industries are starting to collapse, too.

Just remember: Bankruptcy filings aren't always "the end." In many cases, Chapter 11 reorganizations and other maneuvers help companies shed significant amounts of debt, allowing them to continue operating as they try to find a new way forward. That said, COVID-19 is threatening to knock a few well-known brand names out of existence entirely.

Here are 14 companies whose recent bankruptcy filings can be chalked up to the COVID-19 outbreak. In most cases, these businesses were already showing signs of financial duress - the coronavirus merely delivered the coup de grâce.

SEE ALSO: 21 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Selling (And 1 He Bought)

Kiplinger
May 22, 2020

You Need a Smart Tax Strategy to Get the Most Out of Your Stock Options
Stock options have had a rebirth in popularity for executive compensation packages in the last few years. Do you know how to maximize yours?

Kiplinger
May 21, 2020

13 Dividend Stocks That Have Paid Investors for 100 Years
When it comes to investing in dividend stocks, it's patience that results in the real payday for shareholders.

The most obvious measure of a company's income potential, its dividend yield, is calculated on an annualized basis using 12 months of distributions. That typically is spread across four payments, with one dividend paid out each quarter, meaning you can hold a stock for about 12 weeks without seeing a penny in dividends if you wind up selling at an inopportune time.

Beyond the simple practicalities of making sure you're eligible for the next dividend, the real reason patience pays for income investors is the dramatic lift dividends provide over the very long term. Consider that the S&P 500 Index of large U.S. stocks is up 167% since the beginning of 2010. However, if you account for the dividends paid out by the constituent stocks in this benchmark and reinvest that cash back into the index, your return jumps to more than 230% over the past 10 years or so!

If this is the performance that dividends can deliver across a decade, imagine what happens when you account for a century or more of payouts.

These 13 dividend stocks have provided just that: a rich history of uninterrupted cash distributions to shareholders stretching back at least 100 years.

SEE ALSO: 25 Dividend Stocks the Analysts Love the Most

Kiplinger
May 21, 2020

8 Benefits for Healthcare Workers, First Responders in the HEROES Act
While the latest stimulus bill being batted around Congress, the Health and Economic Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, is stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate, the real heroes battling coronavirus on the front lines continue to fight the good fight.

[EMBED TYPE=WIDGET ID=927] And it's here where inaction -- on the bill, which was passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representative -- so far fails the health care workers and first responders (law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians) it is designed, in part, to help. But just how is the $3 trillion HEROES Act planning to benefit the front-line fighters? Part of the bill includes a $200 billion Heroes' fund "to ensure that essential workers who have risked their lives working during the pandemic receive hazard pay."

I have skin in this game. My daughter is a registered nurse whose job, in part, includes taking the temperature of anyone coming to the emergency room at the hospital where she works. So you can be darn sure I'm keeping an eye on the HEROES Act for my hero, and other health care workers and first responders. Here's some of what the HEROES Act offers them.

SEE ALSO: 5 HEROES Act Provisions with a Good Chance of Becoming Law

Kiplinger
May 21, 2020

14 Must-Have Items for Your Home Emergency Kit
Emergency season got off to an early start in 2020. Though the Atlantic Hurricane season officially starts on June 1, the first named storm of the season -- Tropical Storm Arthur -- started forming off the U.S. East Coast on May 17. This April set a record for the number of tornadoes recorded in the U.S., with 351 twisters (and 40 fatalities). And, of course, there's the COVID-19 pandemic, which is both an emergency of its own and complicates responses to traditional troubles like storms, wildfire, earthquakes.

Now more than ever, you need to be prepared to survive on your own in the case of disaster -- days without power, food or water from the tap. And even as much of the country begins to emerge from coronavirus lockdown, don't rule out new waves of infection that could send people back inside.

Time to assemble a home emergency kit that covers all of these scenarios. Have a look even if you think you're fully prepped. Guidelines change, new technologies emerge -- and some of your stash may have deteriorated.

SEE ALSO: The Most Expensive Natural Disasters in U.S. History

Kiplinger
May 21, 2020

16 Free or Cheap Things to Do With Your Kids During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Thanks to the global health pandemic, many parents have been hunkered down at home with their kids for what may seem like an eternity. As the parent of a precocious two-year-old, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to keep your child entertained while working from home right now. And that go-to list of activities that's been in heavy rotation for weeks is probably not-so-much fun anymore for your children.

We've looked far and wide to craft a list of kid-friendly things you can do while staying safe and at home. All of the items listed are either free or have a small fee, so they won't put a serious dent in Mom's or Dad's bank account. The activities range from a virtual video game coding course to participating in a family fitness session via YouTube. Take a look.

SEE ALSO: 70 Valuable Things You Can Get for Free

Kiplinger
May 21, 2020

Retiring in the Midst of COVID-19
Take stock of your priorities in these challenging times. I did, and after doing so, I decided retiring early is the right decision for me.

Kiplinger
May 21, 2020

5 Strategies to Help You Hold on to More of Your Money in Retirement
Preparing for retirement requires a lot of adapting -- not just emotionally, but financially. The closer you get, the more important it becomes to look at your budget, your asset allocation and where your income will come from when you're creating your own paycheck.

It's also critical to make tax efficiency a priority in your planning.

Taxes can take a giant bite out of retirement income year after year. And yet, even people who have done a great job of investing and saving for retirement tend to overlook the tax planning that's necessary to hold on to more of their nest egg.

That may be because many people have been told their taxes are destined to go down in retirement. If you're spending less, you'll require less income, which means your taxes will be lower, right? Not always. Many people spend the same or more in retirement -- at least for the first few years, when they may be doing more traveling, spending time with family and friends, or taking up new hobbies. Also, required minimum distributions for many people can force distributions above and beyond their spending levels, which can increase taxable income and create a tax nightmare.

What can you do to soften the blow? Here are a few strategies to consider:

SEE ALSO: 10 Timeless Investing Principles SEE ALSO: 3 Silver Linings from Coronavirus Shine for Savers and Investors Today

Kiplinger
May 20, 2020

Medicare Now Covers Telehealth, Thanks to This Pandemic
Many private health insurers have offered telehealth for several years, but Medicare lagged behind covering the service.

Kiplinger
May 20, 2020

What Retirees Must Know About Telehealth
The coronavirus has elevated the benefits and potential savings of telehealth like nothing before.

Kiplinger
May 20, 2020

37 Major U.S. Companies Hiring Now to Meet Coronavirus Demand
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is taking a terrible toll on human life, straining global healthcare systems and disrupting daily life. It's eliminating American jobs at an unprecedented pace, too.

More than 36 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits between March 15 and May 8. The U.S. unemployment rate reached 14.7% in April, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledged, at its worst, that figure could reach Great Depression levels around 25%. If so, that would equate to job losses several times more than what America suffered during the Great Recession of 2007-08.

But if you've suddenly found yourself on the job search, dozens of companies might be looking for you. A few sectors are seeing a huge spike in demand, and as a result, several companies are hiring thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of workers right now.

Employment categories currently seeing a surge in hiring include grocery stores, food delivery services, package delivery drivers, freight trucking, cleaning services, call centers, e-commerce warehouses and logistics, nursing homes, online tutors, manufacturers of popular shelf-stable food products, pharmacies and security services.

To help anyone out there trying to find a job, we've compiled a list of 37 of the largest, best-known companies hiring now in response to coronavirus-sparked demand. This list includes what types of job openings are available, how many, and direct links to job application sites. Many of these companies have declared nationwide openings, so there's a good chance that several of these places are hiring near you.

SEE ALSO: 11 Things That May Soon Disappear Forever

Kiplinger
May 20, 2020

6 Ways Investors Can Seize the Moment During the Pandemic
In uncertain times, don't let fear keep you from planning for the future. Whether you're young or retired, there are several unprecedented opportunities to strengthen your finances right now.

Kiplinger
May 20, 2020

FAQs on Stimulus Payments by Prepaid Debit Card
You might be one of the nearly 4 million Americans who will find a debit card in their mailbox soon. If so, don't automatically think it's some sort of scam. It might actually be the stimulus check payment you've been waiting for - just in the form of a prepaid debit card. The cards - called Economic Impact Payment Cards, or EIP Cards, by the IRS - will go to certain people who filed a tax return but don't have bank information on file with the tax agency. Instead of mailing a paper check (which takes longer to process), the cards will be sent to the most recent mailing address on file with the IRS.

[EMBED TYPE=WIDGET ID=927] If you receive one of these EIP Cards, you'll probably have a lot of questions about how it works. Where can I use it? Are there any fees? Can the IRS track my purchases? The cards come with some nice features, but there are also some special rules for their use. So that you can hit the ground running if an EIP Card shows up in your mailbox, here are answers to a few important questions you're likely to have about your stimulus payment debit card.

SEE ALSO: How a Second Stimulus Check Could Differ from Your First One

Kiplinger
May 20, 2020

6 Ways Investors Can Seize the Moment During Pandemic
In uncertain times, don't let fear keep you from planning for the future. Whether you're young or retired, there are several unprecedented opportunities to strengthen your finances right now.

Kiplinger
May 20, 2020

How to Spend Your Stimulus Check If You're Broke
COVID-19 has knocked out the financial progress many had made over the last decade. Millennials have been hit particularly hard because we are one of the most vulnerable groups. This is a product of not having enough time to develop and employ our high income skills nor build enough wealth to weather tough times like we're seeing now.

Fortunately, stimulus checks offered through the CARES Act are putting money in the hands of those who need it most. While some Millennials may have more flexibility in their budgets and can use these funds on any of the best investments for young adults, many others need this money to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, among other pressing necessities.

How should you spend your stimulus check if bills are piling up and you need to use your check on necessities? Here's a walk-through on the thought process about how to prioritize.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things Social Security Recipients Need to Know About Their Stimulus Check

Kiplinger
May 19, 2020

The Employee Retention Tax Credit Helps Keep Workers Working
The credit is worth up to $5,000 per paid employee for businesses financially harmed by the coronavirus pandemic that continue to keep employees on the payroll.

Kiplinger
May 19, 2020

7 Biotech Stocks Wall Street Says Will Double or More
Bull market or bear market, one fact remains unwavering: Biotech stocks represent the ultimate risk/reward plays.

These investments are inherently volatile in nature. Numerous biotechnology companies have just one or two products delivering revenue, which means any news around new potential treatments has added urgency. That results in bigger price swings. "Pre-revenue" biotech stocks - those with no approved products - are even shakier in nature. These companies are in a race to get a treatment approved before they run out of money for research and trials.

Following biotechnology companies isn't like following the rest of the market, either. In many cases, biotech earnings reports aren't a lightning rod for share-price movements. Instead, these stocks tend to ebb and flow on clinical data releases and regulatory approval decisions, which are arguably far more important metrics for gauging biotechnology firms' long-term prospects.

So, how are investors supposed to distinguish between the long-term winners and those poised to take an "L"? We suggest taking a page from the analyst community's playbook.

Using TipRanks' database, we were able to scan the densely populated industry for the most compelling plays. These biotech stocks not only have earned overwhelmingly bullish support from the Wall Street analysts who cover them, but sky-high upside based on the pros' estimates. Here are seven of Wall Street's best biotech stocks right now, according to the analyst community, which believes each of these picks has triple-digit return potential.

SEE ALSO: Pros' Picks: The 15 Best Nasdaq Stocks You Can Buy

Kiplinger
May 19, 2020

Thinking About Divorce? 5 Steps to Save Time, Money
When it comes to separating and getting divorced, when people are ready, they're ready.

Even amid -- or perhaps especially amid -- the coronavirus pandemic and the requisite stay-at-home orders, I'm hearing from clients who are ready to move on. And we're all hearing reports of skyrocketing divorces in China following months of lockdown there due to the public health crisis.

No matter when you think your marriage is on shaky ground, if you are contemplating divorce, it pays to take some actions as early as possible. These five steps can save you time, headache and, in many cases, attorney fees.

SEE ALSO: 10 Practical Tips to Make Divorce More Tolerable SEE ALSO: When Couples Divorce, Who Gets Fido? 'Pup Nups' Can Help

Kiplinger
May 18, 2020

How to Transition into Retirement
Shifting into retirement can be bumpy, but having a plan (or stumbling upon one) can make the switch smoother.

Kiplinger
May 18, 2020

The IRS is Now Taking Phone Calls About Stimulus Checks (But Service is Limited)
You can finally talk to an IRS representative on the phone if you have stimulus check questions.

Kiplinger
May 18, 2020

21 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Selling (And 1 He's Buying)
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), wasn't doing much buying during the first quarter, which ended just before the economic impact of the coronavirus really set in. But he sure did a lot of selling.

Buffett has dumped shares in 21 stocks since the start of the year. For the most part, the Oracle of Omaha has merely trimmed BRK.B's positions. Reducing risk and raising cash are certainly prudent moves when facing the unprecedented uncertainty that we are now. In a few cases, however, Buffett sold the great majority or entirety of Berkshire's positions in some of its biggest and best-known holdings.

On the other side of the ledger, Buffett made just one buy in the quarter, adding a modest amount to a well-known regional bank.

We know what the greatest long-term investor of all time has been doing because the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires all investment managers with more than $100 million in assets to file a Form 13F quarterly to disclose any changes in share ownership. These filings add an important level of transparency to the stock market and give Buffett-ologists a chance to get a bead on what he's thinking.

When Buffett starts a new stake in some company, or adds to an existing one, investors take that as a vote of confidence. On the other hand, if he pares his holdings in a stock, it can spark investors to rethink their own investments. The fact that Buffett was fearful rather than greedy as the market plunged in Q1 underscores how challenging it is to make investing decisions these days.

Here's the scorecard for what Berkshire Hathaway bought and sold during the three months ended March 31, 2020, based on the most recent 13F that the company filed on May 15. And remember: Not all "Warren Buffett stocks" are actually his picks. Some smaller positions are believed to be handled by lieutenants Ted Weschler and Todd Combs.

SEE ALSO: The Berkshir

Kiplinger
May 18, 2020

Small-Business Owners Terrified of Keeping PPP Money Face Deadline Today
The rules of the Paycheck Protection Program keep changing. And the latest rules change has some business owners thinking about giving their money back. Before they do, they should read this.

Kiplinger
May 18, 2020

Warren Buffett Stocks Ranked: The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio
The Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) equity portfolio still holds many of the storied blue chips that most investors associated with portfolio. American Express (AXP). Coca-Cola (KO). More recently, Apple (AAPL) and Amazon.com (AMZN).

But a deeper dive into Warren Buffett's stocks reveals a more complicated picture, not to mention a portfolio that has undergone quite a few significant changes of late.

Most notably, Berkshire exited its investments in each of the four major U.S. airlines. The coronavirus pandemic, which put an end to the bull market, also decimated the airline industry. Buffett said as recently as March that he "won't be selling airline stocks," but in early May, Berkshire turned tail, disclosing in filings that it closed out its stakes in United Airlines (UAL), American Airlines (AAL), Delta Air Lines (DAL) and Southwest Airlines (LUV). And Buffett has done plenty more selling on top of that.

Berkshire Hathaway held positions in 43 separate companies (across 46 different stocks thanks to firms with multiple share classes) as of the end of the first quarter, down significantly from 49 in the fourth quarter. That's according to its most recent 13F regulatory filing, submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 15, as well as additional filings in May and April. But the portfolio of "Buffett stocks" isn't as diversified as the number might suggest. Some are new positions so small they equate to a pinky toe in the water. Other holdings are immaterial leftovers from earlier bets that the Oracle of Omaha has mostly exited, just not completely.

Still, anyone who wants to know which stocks legendary investor Warren Buffett feels are worth his time and attention need look no further than the Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio. Just remember: A few of these Buffett stocks were actually picked by portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler, who many believe are the top candidates to succeed "Uncle Warren" wheneve

Kiplinger
May 18, 2020

7 Tips to Help Spot 'Fake' Financial News
Unless you live under a rock with no cell signal, your brain processes an extraordinary amount of information every day.

Americans consume five times as much information as they did in 1986 -- the daily equivalent of about 174 newspapers -- a 2011 study found. Outside of work alone our daily intake is 34 gigabytes of information, or 100,000 words, according to a University of California, San Diego report. That's roughly the size of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Our brains aren't equipped to handle such a deluge. This makes it difficult to decipher fact from fiction, or what is relevant to you and what is not -- an important distinction when your money is at stake.

Daily headlines often have no bearing on one's long-term financial goals. So, for long-term investors, most financial media is noise. But these days, the local paper and evening news have been replaced by posts, texts, tweets, podcasts, memes, videos, etc.

The advent of social media has led to a proliferation of false information, or "fake news." For our purposes, we can loosely define "fake" as misleading, highly biased and/or utterly unrelated or unhelpful to an individual investor's situation. Some stories are designed to leverage our emotions, which can be dangerous when our emotions are already high, such as during a market downturn or a recession. It can cause investors to consider rash decisions that prove costly.

The simplest way to avoid the noise is to turn off your devices. But it's far more realistic, instead, to learn how to navigate today's information landscape. Here are seven tips to help you spot "fake" financial news.

SEE ALSO: 10 Timeless Investing Principles

Kiplinger
May 18, 2020

21 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Selling (And 1 He Bought)
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), wasn't doing much buying during the first quarter, which ended just before the economic impact of the coronavirus really set in. But he sure did a lot of selling.

Buffett has dumped shares in 21 stocks since the start of the year. For the most part, the Oracle of Omaha has merely trimmed BRK.B's positions. Reducing risk and raising cash are certainly prudent moves when facing the unprecedented uncertainty that we are now. In a few cases, however, Buffett sold the great majority or entirety of Berkshire's positions in some of its biggest and best-known holdings.

On the other side of the ledger, Buffett made just one buy in the quarter, adding a modest amount to a well-known regional bank.

We know what the greatest long-term investor of all time has been doing because the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires all investment managers with more than $100 million in assets to file a Form 13F quarterly to disclose any changes in share ownership. These filings add an important level of transparency to the stock market and give Buffett-ologists a chance to get a bead on what he's thinking.

When Buffett starts a new stake in some company, or adds to an existing one, investors take that as a vote of confidence. On the other hand, if he pares his holdings in a stock, it can spark investors to rethink their own investments. The fact that Buffett was fearful rather than greedy as the market plunged in Q1 underscores how challenging it is to make investing decisions these days.

Here's the scorecard for what Berkshire Hathaway bought and sold during the three months ended March 31, 2020, based on the most recent 13F that the company filed on May 15. And remember: Not all "Warren Buffett stocks" are actually his picks. Some smaller positions are believed to be handled by lieutenants Ted Weschler and Todd Combs.

SEE ALSO: The Berkshir

Kiplinger
May 18, 2020

When Panic Sets in, How One Financial Adviser Talks Clients Off the Ledge
Coronavirus panic is real, and it extends beyond health concerns to people's financial lives. But drastic measures can be disastrous.

Kiplinger
May 16, 2020

5 HEROES Act Provisions with a Good Chance of Becoming Law
Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. Even though there were tough negotiations, Republicans and Democrats in Washington were able to quickly pass the first few coronavirus economic stimulus bills. But now it looks like hyper partisanship reigns supreme once again in the nation's capital. For evidence of this, look no further than the most recent stimulus package being kicked around in Congress -- the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. Democrats just pushed the massive, $3 trillion bill through the House of Representatives. But President Trump and Republican lawmakers have declared it "dead on arrival" in the Senate. It seems as if the two sides couldn't be further apart.

[EMBED TYPE=WIDGET ID=927] But there's a glimmer of hope. There are enough lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who believe Americans need more help. So, while the HEROES Act as it exists right now is destined to go nowhere, it's likely that another stimulus package of some sort will eventually get through Congress and be signed into law by the president. Are there any provisions in the current HEROES Act that could be included in the next law? You bet! Here are five HEROES Act proposals with a good chance of ultimately becoming law.

SEE ALSO: 11 Ways the CARES Act and Other Government Measures Could Help You in 2020

Kiplinger
May 15, 2020

No Social Security COLA Increase Likely for 2021
Retirees and others should temper hopes of a cost-of-living increase for 2021, and the effect might last even longer.

Kiplinger
May 15, 2020

10 Best Value Stocks for Gritting Out the Downturn
The last time value stocks were in style, Abraham Lincoln still had a Pennsylvania Avenue address.

OK, it hasn't been quite that long. Still, for years, even the best value stocks have taken a back seat to growth. The Wilshire US Large-Cap Growth Index, for instance, has produced a total return (price plus dividends) of 250.6% between the start of 2007 and May 11, 2020; over the same period, the Wilshire US Large-Cap Value Index managed just 106.7%.

Growth stocks appear to have gotten way ahead of themselves, which at least sets up the possibility that value stocks will return to favor. But there are no guarantees.

"Growth's outperformance will end when it finally crumbles under its own weight, as it finally did in 2000, but I have no idea if it happens next week or in five years," Pekin Hardy Strauss portfolio manager Josh Strauss recently told MarketWatch.

Market timing is a fool's errand, however. Instead, you can do well by simply targeting high-quality value stocks now ... which includes determining just what real "value" is. For instance, is a stock that trades at less than five times earnings a bargain if it's buried in debt? That seems doubtful, especially in this uncharted economic territory brought about by COVID-19.

Here are 10 of the best value stocks to buy right now. For the value component, we're using cash rather than profits, which can be skewed by various accounting adjustments. Also, in this time of uncertainty, it's important for portfolio picks to have healthy balance sheets. So each of these stocks boasts cash positions that are greater than their outstanding debt.

SEE ALSO: 50 Top Stock Picks That Billionaires Love

Kiplinger
May 15, 2020

10 Things You Should Know Before Filing for Bankruptcy
Are bills piling up while you're out of work and stuck at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you thinking that filing for bankruptcy might be a good way to fix your financial situation? If so, you're not alone.

Bankruptcy is a legal process that can help people like you who can't pay their bills. It allows you to wipe out your debt and get a fresh start. Filing for bankruptcy will also put a halt to foreclosure or legal actions against you, and it stops creditors from calling and demanding payment. This "breathing space" is one of the most desired benefits of filing bankruptcy.

But there are a few things you should know before you take that giant step. Bankruptcy won't solve all your problems. You'll need help, and it can be a long (and costly) process. There are other important considerations, too. So, to help you figure out the best path for you, here are 10 things you should know before filing for bankruptcy.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things You Must Know About Filing for Unemployment Benefits

Kiplinger
May 15, 2020

Bitcoin Halving: What Does It Mean for Investors?
'Mining' for this cryptocurrency just became a lot more expensive

Kiplinger
May 15, 2020

July 15 Is the Magic Date Now for 1031 Exchanges
The IRS is giving real estate investors currently working toward 1031 exchanges a little extra time to get their deals done during the coronavirus pandemic. But there are still some fine points to figure out.

Kiplinger
May 15, 2020

So, You Want to Start Your Own Food Truck Business
"The Food Truck Lawyer" has some words of advice for anyone curious about starting their own empire, an opportunity that could make sense in the age of coronavirus.

Kiplinger
May 14, 2020

'Going Concern' Warnings Are a Growing Concern
When this accounting term pops up, pay attention. Bankruptcy might be close behind.

Kiplinger
May 14, 2020

Fresh Coaching, Brushing Up on Basics Can Help Retirees Cover Their Bases
No matter how financially in shape you are now, it never hurts to tweak your swing. Now is a good time to take some tips to improve your average.

Kiplinger
May 14, 2020

Considering Early Retirement? 5 Things to Know
Before you accept a buyout, do the math to see if you really can afford to retire. (We'll show you how.) Then follow up with these tried-and-true strategies to make sure your launch into retirement isn't a false start.

Kiplinger
May 13, 2020

7 Ways the Pandemic Will Change Big U.S. Cities
Historically, pandemics transform cities. Outbreaks of cholera and other diseases, for example, spurred improvements in planning and sanitation throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. COVID-19 will also leave a lasting impact, in part by accelerating preexisting trends.

In the short term, cities will likely suffer as the virus highlights the disadvantages of dense urban spaces. Even before COVID-19, population growth in urban counties had flatlined. Several factors will favor the suburbs--some old (the lower cost of living, for example) and some new (an increase in telework).

So, will COVID-19 usher in a new era of de-urbanization? Not necessarily. Indeed, cities may be in the best position to lead the economic recovery after the pandemic, much as they did after the Great Recession. "Superstar" cities with strong tech industries like San Francisco and Seattle will likely rebound the fastest.

Read on to discover seven post-pandemic developments to expect in big cities across America.

SEE ALSO: Things That May Soon Disappear Forever (The Pandemic Edition)

Kiplinger
May 13, 2020

Gifts for Grads to Build Good Money Habits
Today's graduates aren't destined to share the same fate as past generations, so it's important for them to ramp up their money skills.

Kiplinger
May 13, 2020

Pros' Picks: The 15 Best Nasdaq Stocks You Can Buy
It has been noted ad nauseam that the stock market doesn't appear to reflect the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down "only" 17% for the year to date, while the S&P 500 is off "just" 11%.

If that bothers you, don't even look at the Nasdaq Composite. This tech-heavy index of Nasdaq-listed stocks is actually positive, albeit barely, for 2020.

Whether share prices adequately discount the potential damage caused by the global lockdown and a prolonged recession is a discussion for another time. Besides, investors usually find it more profitable not to fight the tape.

With that in mind, we went searching for the Nasdaq stocks that analysts say have the best prospects for outperformance going forward.

We screened the Nasdaq Composite for stocks followed by a minimum of 10 analysts. We further whittled the list down to stocks with an average broker recommendation of Buy or better. S&P Capital IQ surveys analysts' stock ratings and scores them on a five-point scale, where 1.0 equals Strong Buy and 5.0 means Strong Sell. Any score of 2.0 or lower means that analysts, on average, rate the stock a Buy. The closer the score gets to 1.0, the stronger the Buy call. Lastly, we dug into research, analysts' estimates and other data on the top-scoring names.

The process gave us a host of stocks, from small biotechnology plays to some of the biggest, best-known companies in the world. Have a look at 15 of the best Nasdaq stocks, according to the pros.

SEE ALSO: 50 Top Stock Picks That Billionaires Love

Kiplinger
May 13, 2020

The Fed Is Buying ETFs. Now What?
The Federal Reserve's plan to hoover up $750 billion in bond funds could have some serious long-term consquences.

Kiplinger
May 13, 2020

5 Ways to Better Optimize Your Finances
Small changes can help you do the best possible with what you have. Here are some tweaks to consider making to your financial life.

Kiplinger
May 13, 2020

5 Tax Strategies to Help You Hold on to Your Money in Retirement
Preparing for retirement requires a lot of adapting -- not just emotionally, but financially. The closer you get, the more important it becomes to look at your budget, your asset allocation and where your income will come from when you're creating your own paycheck.

It's also critical to make tax efficiency a priority in your planning.

Taxes can take a giant bite out of retirement income year after year. And yet, even people who have done a great job of investing and saving for retirement tend to overlook the tax planning that's necessary to hold on to more of their nest egg.

That may be because many people have been told their taxes are destined to go down in retirement. If you're spending less, you'll require less income, which means your taxes will be lower, right? Not always. Many people spend the same or more in retirement -- at least for the first few years, when they may be doing more traveling, spending time with family and friends, or taking up new hobbies. Also, required minimum distributions for many people can force distributions above and beyond their spending levels, which can increase taxable income and create a tax nightmare.

What can you do to soften the blow? Here are a few strategies to consider:

SEE ALSO: 10 Timeless Investing Principles SEE ALSO: 3 Silver Linings from Coronavirus Shine for Savers and Investors Today

Kiplinger
May 13, 2020

How a Second Stimulus Check Could Differ from Your First One
Here we go again! Congressional efforts to pass another economic stimulus package officially began when House Democrats introduced the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. Perhaps the most anticipated provisions in the new bill are those concerning a second round of stimulus checks. There was a lot of buzz about $2,000 stimulus checks each month, but in the end the Democrats opted for a much more modest proposal. In fact, the second round of stimulus checks called for in the HEROES Act looks a lot like the first round of $1,200 checks authorized by the CARES Act--but with some important tweaks (and even some changes to the CARES Act payments).

The HEROES Act as it stands right now doesn't have a very good chance of becoming law. It's considered dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate. However, some proposals in the current bill could survive the coming political slugfest and eventually land on President Trump's desk. The new stimulus check provisions certainly could be among them because (1) the general idea of having more direct payments has bipartisan support and (2) the HEROES Act proposal is not as costly as other stimulus check options.

[EMBED TYPE=WIDGET ID=927] We don't know yet what lawmakers will eventually do. They could negotiate a final version of the HEROES Act , craft a different bill, or become stuck in typical Washington gridlock. But while we wait for further action (or inaction), let's take a look at the proposed second-round stimulus checks and see how they compare with the first round of payments.

SEE ALSO: Who's Not Getting a Stimulus Check (Or Has to Return It)

Kiplinger
May 13, 2020

Don't Miss Today's Stimulus Check Direct Deposit Deadline (Hint: You Have Until Noon)
The IRS set a deadline for getting stimulus check payments by direct deposit. If you don't act by noon today, you'll receive a paper check (which takes longer to arrive).

Kiplinger
May 12, 2020

Vote by Mail: A State-by-State Guide to Absentee Ballot Voting
With health authorities recommending people continue to social distance, the idea of voting by mail is becoming an increasingly hot topic.

Kiplinger
May 12, 2020

7 Best Energy Stocks to Ride Out Oil's Recovery
When it comes to energy stocks, "safety" is in the eye of the beholder.

The world faces a massive supply glut as the coronavirus pandemic has simply removed much of the world's demand for oil. Energy has become so depressed that, a few weeks ago, the unthinkable happened: crude futures went negative. This means producers were paying contract holders to take crude off their hands.

The energy market has normalized since then, and oil has moved higher, but we're still looking at low average prices not seen since the Clinton administration. Prices are still well below breakeven costs for most energy stocks, even some of oil's elder statesmen. Dividends have been cut or suspended. Some - including Whiting Petroleum (WLL) and Diamond Offshore (DOFSQ) - have filed for bankruptcy, and other oil and gas stocks could face the same fate.

Thus, few energy investments feel "safe" right now. But as is the case after every oil crash, some energy stocks will survive. And of that group, some represent considerable bargains. They might not look pretty at the moment; a few have had to cut back on capital projects, even buybacks and dividends. But these moves have made them likelier to survive this downturn and come back swinging on an upturn in oil prices.

Here are seven of the best energy stocks to speculate on as oil tries to claw its way back. It could be a bumpy ride - every one of them could experience more volatility if oil prices swing wildly again. But thanks to smart fiscal management so far in this crisis, they might pan out well for adventurous investors.

SEE ALSO: 50 Top Stock Picks That Billionaires Love

Kiplinger
May 12, 2020

Don't Miss the IRS Stimulus Check Direct Deposit Deadline (Hint: It's Almost Here)
The IRS set a deadline for getting stimulus check payments by direct deposit. If you don't act in time, you'll receive a paper check (which takes longer to arrive).

Kiplinger
May 12, 2020

A Step-by-Step Guide to Being an Executor
Whether you're planning ahead for your own heirs or have been asked to serve as executor for someone else, it pays to understand what the role requires. The executor shoulders the fiduciary responsibility to keep track of all assets and debts for the deceased person and executes the instructions in the will for disposing the assets. Claims against the estate could become the executor's personal responsibility if funds aren't handled correctly, says Hugh Drake, a partner with the Brown Hay & Stephens law firm in Springfield, Ill. The job can be a steep learning curve, especially if you know little about the deceased person's possessions, the scope of the estate or where important papers were kept. Here's a step-by-step guide of what the executor will need to do.

SEE ALSO: 18 States With Scary Death Taxes

Kiplinger
May 12, 2020

Roth IRA Conversions are on Sale
Many retirement savers can get an extra-good deal on Roth conversions right now. Here's why.

Kiplinger
May 12, 2020

Wealthy Families Have a Rare Opportunity to Avoid Estate Taxes
The unique financial climate ushered in by the coronavirus offers well-off investors the chance to implement a little-known estate-planning strategy called the Preferred Partnership Freeze.

Kiplinger
May 11, 2020

11 Monthly Dividend Stocks and Funds for Reliable Income
Your bills generally come monthly. Your mortgage, your car payment, your utility bills ... even the gym membership and Netflix subscription come due once per month.

Yet that's not how most investments typically work. Bonds tend to pay their coupon payments semiannually, and stocks tend to pay their dividends quarterly. You can get paid much more frequently, however. A number of monthly dividend stocks and funds can help you better align your investment income with your living expenses.

Investors received a stark reminder of how important stable income is during the market turmoil of February and March. Not only did the stock market take a nosedive, but many seemingly reliable dividend payers were forced to cut or suspend their payouts.

Furthermore, the coronavirus lockdowns have disrupted the livelihoods of millions of Americans, leaving many to dip into already depleted portfolios to pay their bills.

"Income security is the single biggest concern I'm hearing from my clients," says Sonia Joao, a wealth manager based in Houston, Texas. "Many of my clients are at that critical age when they become targeted for early retirement, and that's now more likely than ever with companies being forced to reduce headcount. Replacing that lost income is our top priority."

Today, we're going to take a look at 11 of the best monthly dividend stocks and funds that have so far managed the coronavirus with their payouts intact. Not all of these will be exceptionally high yielders. In this environment, it's better to take a lower but reliable yield than to reach for an unrealistically high yield, only to watch it evaporate before the next payment.

SEE ALSO: 32 Ways to Earn Up to 9% on Your Money Now

Kiplinger
May 11, 2020

How to Get a Loved One to Visit an Estate Planning Attorney Before It's Too Late
If there's a family member or a friend in your life who refuses to do their will and get their estate in order, here are some tips to finally get them to take action.

Kiplinger
May 11, 2020

Does Your Financial Plan Fit on 1 Page? It Should. Here's How.
Software planning tools can be handy, but they can also be complex and end up steering you in the wrong direction. What may work better? A little face time with your planner, leading to a simple, easy-to-follow financial "map."

Kiplinger
May 11, 2020

5 Ways to Help Your Finances Recover from Coronavirus
Help alleviate some of your worries and strengthen your retirement outlook by doing these five things.

Kiplinger
May 10, 2020

Best Video Apps for Staying in Touch
We rate five video-chat platforms for user-friendliness and security features.

Kiplinger
May 09, 2020

10 Things Social Security Recipients Need to Know About Their Stimulus Check
Trying to keep track of all the what's, when's and why's about stimulus checks will make anyone's head spin. This is especially true for Social Security recipients, who have had to deal with the IRS's flip-flopping on important questions like whether a tax return is required to get a check. There are also several special rules that only apply to people receiving Social Security benefits.

But don't worry--we've got you covered. We combed through the IRS and Social Security Administration guidance on stimulus checks and pulled out the 10 of the most important things Social Security recipients need to know about their stimulus check. Hopefully, we'll answer all your questions, point you in the right direction for more information, and provide a little advice for moving forward.

SEE ALSO: Who's Not Getting a Stimulus Check (Or Has to Return It)

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

Where's My Paper Stimulus Check? Some People May Have to Wait Until September
The IRS is reportedly sending out 5 million paper checks per week. At that pace, some checks might not arrive for months.

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

My First Bear Market, By the Book
I'm boosting my 401(k) contributions now that my gym membership and student loan payments are on hold.

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

The Stunning IRS Ruling That May Bankrupt Small Businesses That Took PPP Loans
The Paycheck Protection Program rolled out with great fanfare to help save small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. But something the IRS just did could decimate much of that benefit.

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

Deadline Alert: Use the "Get My Payment" Portal NOW to Get Your Stimulus Check Faster
The IRS set a deadline for many people who want to get their stimulus check by direct deposit. If you don't act in time, you'll receive a paper check (which takes longer to arrive).

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

Animal Crossing: 9 Personal-Finance Lessons From Nintendo's Hit Game
The video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become a sensation in short order. Released on March 20 for the Nintendo Switch console, ACNH allows players to explore a small island and make it their own. That includes seemingly mundane tasks like pulling weeds, catching bugs or chopping wood.

You might think a video game about chores sounds weird. And ... well, it is. However, the ability to explore a virtual island has been a healthy escape for millions amid the coronavirus pandemic. Shut-in gamers eager for the latest entry in this already popular series racked up 5 million digital downloads of the title in March alone - a record for the most digital copies sold in a single month.

Besides, chores are just a means to an end. The real appeal isn't spending 20 minutes catching a dozen sea bass. It's selling those fish for bells - a currency you can use to customize the island and its appearance. You can build bridges, add rooms to your house and even design your own clothes. The sky is the limit, as long as you have the bells to fund your creative vision.

That means it's important to practice good financial discipline if you want to build your best life.

And believe it or not, the personal finance lessons learned in Animal Crossing: New Horizons translate pretty well to how you can practice good behaviors in the real world. Read on as we look at nine solid pieces of financial and investing advice you can reap from this blockbuster title.

SEE ALSO: 10 Money Mistakes Millennials Should Avoid (No. 10's a Shocker)

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

20 Retailers That Have Amended Their Return Policies Due to COVID-19
The task of returning unwanted products has become a lot more challenging during this pandemic.

If you've been holding on to an unwanted item purchased in-store or online just before retailers temporarily closed brick-and-mortar locations or suspended e-commerce transactions, you're in luck. Most have extended their standard return window to accommodate customers who've been sheltering in place for weeks. But the trends aren't all favorable for consumers: Big-box retailers such as Costco and Walmart have temporarily discontinued returns for select household items -- including paper products and cleaning supplies -- due to health and safety concerns. And due to the increased volume of returns and e-commerce activity in general, it may take retailers longer than usual to process refunds, says consumer-savings expert Andrea Woroch.

For purchases that need to be returned by mail, the United States Postal Service remains open, as do major shipping outlets such as UPS and FedEx.

We've examined amended return policies for many popular brick-and-mortar retailers and e-commerce sites to identify how soon shoppers will need to initiate a return in order to get a full refund. Here's what we found.

SEE ALSO: 15 Money-Smart Ways to Spend Your Coronavirus Quarantine Time (Now That Sports Are Gone)

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

5 Bear Market Do's and Don'ts
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, economies the world over came to a screeching halt, and stock prices tumbled into a bear market more quickly than they ever have. Stocks subsequently rallied sharply, but we're far from in the clear. With no hard-and-fast time line for when life will return to normal, the only thing investors can be certain of for now is more uncertainty.

But if history is any indication, we can count on one thing: This bear market, no matter how ferocious, will come to an end. Despite the unique viral source of current market turmoil, "this is all part of the market cycle," says Morningstar director of investor education Karen Wallace. "Bear markets have happened historically, and they'll happen again." In other words, market history is repeating itself, and the time-tested strategies of the past dozen bears will help you navigate through this one, too. Here are some portfolio do's and don'ts to consider.

SEE ALSO: 8 Facts You Need to Know About Bear Markets

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

The Complete Guide to Decluttering
Spending a lot of time at home? What better time to get organized?

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

Reaching for a Lifeline
The theme of this issue is what to do about your money in the time of the coronavirus and a distressed economy.

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

32 Ways to Earn Up to 9% on Your Money Now
In addition to taking a vast human toll, the coronavirus pandemic has mercilessly infected virtually every corner of the investment world. As markets plunged and seized up, the Federal Reserve dropped its short-term interest rate to zero and began injecting trillions of dollars into the financial system to shore up credit markets and keep money flowing to beleaguered companies, households and local governments. Yields on 10- and 30-year Treasuries plummeted to record lows, and yields briefly turned negative on some short-term T-bills.

In a dash for cash, even safe assets such as municipal bonds and high-grade corporate issues tumbled in value. Sellers who needed to raise cash--mutual fund managers facing fund redemptions, investors who suddenly needed funds to meet margin calls, heavily indebted hedge funds forced to unwind positions--sold assets willy-nilly, without regard to valuation, zeroing in on the investments that were liquid and easily disposed of.

And therein lies an opportunity for income-starved investors, who can now find yields on assets such as high-quality stocks, real estate investment trusts and high-yield bonds that were unavailable in recent years. We'll guide you through levels of risk and potential reward.

SEE ALSO: 11 Best E-Commerce Stocks for Electrifying Returns

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

5 Great Funds for a Down Market
"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Fearsome former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson wasn't talking about investors when he dispensed that particular piece of wisdom. But with the walloping portfolios have taken in recent months, he might as well have been. The recent stock market plunge serves as a wake-up call (if not an uppercut to the jaw) for investors.

If major declines in your mutual funds have you reconsidering just how much of a beating you're willing to take, consider adding a fund that holds up in difficult markets. From the 2007-09 bear market through today's turmoil, Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has had five downturns of 15% or more. And, with one exception, the large-company stock funds below held up better than the index on every occasion (Akre Focus didn't open for business until 2009).

These funds won't dazzle when the market returns to bull form. But by surrendering less when the market flounders, they've each built market-beating track records over the long term.

SEE ALSO: 11 Best E-Commerce Stocks for Electrifying Returns

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

Staying Calm in a Crisis
Keep a stock allocation that you can live with--and still sleep well.

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

Treasuries: America's Best Product?
Whatever you think about politics or politicians, in tough times investors will do well to bet on the government.

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

Kiplinger ETF 20: Our Strategic Funds Shine
These funds focus on specific sectors, or they mirror custom indexes designed to beat pockets of the market.

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

When is the Mississippi State Tax Return Deadline in 2020?
At one point the due date for filing your Mississippi income tax return was May 15, but it has been pushed back to a later date.

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

6 Stocks to Buy and Hold (And 6 Picks to Avoid)
Nothing feeds fear in the stock market like uncertainty, and nothing spreads fear and uncertainty like a global pandemic. As coronavirus worries infected the financial markets, stocks tumbled at a record pace. Standard & Poor's 500-stock index dropped 34% from its all-time high in about a month. During the Great Recession, it took nearly a year for the index to decline by that amount. A near-total economic shutdown in the country's biggest cities compounded the damage. "These are unprecedented times," says Philip Lawlor, managing director, global markets research at FTSE Russell.

But smart investors are greedy when others are fearful, and this time is no different. Fidelity Puritan fund manager Dan Kelley and other fund managers have been busy buying during the sell-off. "Opportunities like these come along once a decade if you're lucky," says Kelley, who says he's finding some of the best investment opportunities he has seen in a long time.

Just because a stock is cheap doesn't mean it's a bargain. Stocks in high-quality firms--financially strong, well-established firms with lots of cash and little debt--are better equipped to withstand troubled times and rough markets. Some even emerge from a crisis stronger.

With that in mind, we set out to find stocks with staying power, focusing on firms that lead their industry and have a competitive advantage over peers, a steady history of profitability and good long-term growth prospects. We list our six favorites below.

SEE ALSO: 20 Best Stocks to Buy for the Next Bull Market

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

To Succeed, Small-Business Owners Need to Put Their Own Finances First
Many business owners put everything they have into their businesses, and in doing so forget to make a plan for their own personal finances. That's a big mistake.

Kiplinger
May 08, 2020

3 Silver Linings from Coronavirus Shine for Savers and Investors Today
The silver lining of a cloud is not actual silver, but is actually sunlight diffracted by cloud droplets on the periphery. The darker and denser the cloud, the more prominent the silver lining appears to be. Hence the metaphor.

So when we talk about silver linings in a down economy, we do so with the knowledge there is, in fact, light behind the cloud. When we invest, we do so knowing that the fundamentals of our economy are sound. With this knowledge, we can use both the clouds and the linings to our advantage.

SEE ALSO: 8 Facts You Need to Know About Bear Markets SEE ALSO: Who's Not Getting a Stimulus Check (Or Has to Return It)

Kiplinger
May 07, 2020

11 Small-Cap Stocks Analysts Love the Most
Investors in stocks with small market values know all too well that they usually underperform in down markets. The flip side is that small-cap stocks often lead the way when markets are headed higher again.

Most small-cap investors can't wait for the market to turn. The S&P 500 has lost 16% since it peaked on Feb. 19. As for the small-cap benchmark Russell 2000? It has tumbled more than 25%.

This widespread pain among small caps might give investors pause about digging in. So we decided to suss out which stocks are holding up best, perhaps generating gains, and are set up for continued outperformance once businesses and markets get back to something resembling normal conditions.

Sure enough, even today, there's no shortage of great ideas when it comes to small-cap stocks.

To find the best candidates, we limited ourselves to companies with market capitalizations of between $1 billion and $2 billion. The stocks also had to outperform the S&P 500 since the bear market kicked off almost three months ago.

We further whittled the list down to stocks with an average broker recommendation of Buy or better. S&P Capital IQ surveys analysts' stock ratings and scores them on a five-point scale, where 1.0 equals Strong Buy and 5.0 means Strong Sell. Any score of 2.0 or lower means that analysts, on average, rate the stock a Buy. The closer the score gets to 1.0, the stronger the Buy call. Lastly, we dug into research and analysts' estimates on the top-scoring names.

From that pool, we landed on 11 of the best small-cap stocks that analysts love the most. Read on as we highlight each one.

SEE ALSO: 50 Top Stock Picks That Billionaires Love

Kiplinger
May 07, 2020

How to Handle a Bear Market
If you've got to take action, boost your savings rate or scout for mispriced securities. And check that your portfolio is in line with your goals.

Kiplinger
May 07, 2020

FAANGs 1: Higher Tech, Lower Risk
These stocks can withstand the shocks that are becoming more common in our interconnected world.

Kiplinger
May 07, 2020

Get Help With Your Bills
Many lenders are offering breaks to borrowers hit by the coronavirus-fueled crisis.

Kiplinger
May 07, 2020

Are Your Bank Deposits Insured?
As long as your financial institution is federally insured, your deposits are protected -- up to certain limits.

Kiplinger
May 07, 2020

How Retirees Can Protect their Portfolios
Take these steps to help your retirement savings withstand the bear.

Kiplinger
May 07, 2020

You Can Still Buy and Sell a Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak
But you'll have to jump through some hoops to close the deal.

Kiplinger
May 07, 2020

Yes, Investing Feels Scary Right Now
That knot in the pit of your stomach could be loosened by a little rebalancing to help get your retirement portfolio back on track.

Kiplinger
May 07, 2020

10 Timeless Investing Principles
When times are good, it's tempting to throw caution to the wind. This is especially true during a strong economic environment. Over the 11-year bull market, which ended in March, stocks rose steadily, companies were able to easily obtain financing, and many professions offered secure paychecks. Many investors took consistent positive returns for granted, and, consequently, made questionable decisions when it came to their personal finances.

To quote legendary investor, Warren Buffett, "You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out."

Over the past two months, the tide went out fiercely, with the market plunging at a historic pace. In a matter of weeks, the S&P 500 dropped 34% and trillions of dollars in shareholder value vanished. This experience has been a wake-up call that the good times don't last forever. It's also a harsh reminder of the dangers of straying too far from a prudent investment plan.

A judicious strategy incorporates timeless investment principles, many of which have become clichés over the years. These investment truths not only help ensure that investors are on track to achieve their financial objectives, they also keep them out of trouble by attempting to avoid financial missteps when times are good. Now is a wonderful opportunity to revisit these principles, as many investors are searching for guidance during these challenging times.

SEE ALSO: 27 Solid Ways to Build Your Wealth SEE ALSO: Believing Is Seeing: How to Avoid Retirement Myopia

Kiplinger
May 06, 2020

9 Ways to Raise Cash Quickly
The $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package is providing a $1,200 check for millions of Americans. Parents are getting an additional $500 for each child age 16 or younger. The stimulus package also significantly expands unemployment benefits to include part-time workers, the self-employed, and people who ordinarily wouldn't qualify.

Although both of those initiatives are supplying much-needed cash for many families, the funds may fall short if you're out of work or furloughed for a prolonged period of time or have big health care expenses. If you're cash-strapped, you may be tempted to run up credit card debt--but before you do, explore these sources of emergency cash. They could tide you over until the crisis has passed.

SEE ALSO: 11 Ways the Stimulus Package and Other Government Measures Could Help You in 2020

Kiplinger
May 06, 2020

7 Safe Dividend Stocks With Big Dividend Growth Potential
Dividend growth might have been an investing staple of the past decade or so. But these past few months, dividend stocks have been pinching their pennies.

Dozens of companies have announced dividend cuts or suspensions since the start of March. That includes more than 5% of the S&P 500 Index. In fact, in April, more S&P 500 companies reduced or killed off their dividends than announced payout raises.

Investors - especially those nearing or in retirement - who are banking on regular cash income have been backed into a corner. The number of dividend stocks that are able to sustain their payouts is thinning, and those that can briskly grow those distributions over time are an even smaller group. (Remember: Income growth is vital; inflation erodes the spending power of stagnant dividends over time.)

So where you can you look for dividend growth? Consider the DIVCON system from exchange-traded fund provider Reality Shares. DIVCON uses a five-tier rating, from 1 to 5, to gauge companies' dividend health. A DIVCON 5 rating indicates not just a healthy dividend, but a high likelihood of dividend growth. DIVCON 1 dividend stocks, on the other hand, are the likeliest to cut or suspend their payouts.

Within each DIVCON rating is a composite score based on factors including free cash flow-to-dividends, profit growth, buybacks as a percentage of dividends and more.

Here are seven safe dividend stocks with big dividend growth potential. Not only do these stocks boast the top DIVCON rating of 5, but they generate enough cash profits to pay their dividend several times over: a good indication that dividend growth will continue well into the future.

SEE ALSO: 15 Super-Safe Dividend Stocks to Buy Now

Kiplinger
May 06, 2020

Do People in Jail Get a Stimulus Check?
The IRS released guidance on what people incarcerated in jail or prison should do if they receive a stimulus check.

Kiplinger
May 06, 2020

How to Participate in a Clinical Trial
New policies and guidelines emerge to ensure that more people, especially those age 65 and older, are included in clinical trials.

Kiplinger
May 06, 2020

What to Do If You Get a Stimulus Check for a Dead Person
The IRS now has specific guidance on what to do if you receive a stimulus check for a deceased person.

Kiplinger
May 06, 2020

Shelter from the Storm: Safe, 'Boring' Financial Products Are Exciting Today
That's especially true for people in their 60s and older. Those looking to earn a little more than what's offered by U.S. Treasury bonds and CDs might want to take a look at deferred fixed annuities.

Kiplinger
May 06, 2020

In Your 40s with Money in a 401(k)? Don't Let This Bear Market Derail Your Financial Plan
For most investors in their 40s, this downturn could be their first real test. You probably feel like taking action to protect yourself, but before you do, read this.

Kiplinger
May 06, 2020

Economic Aid for Millennials: Stimulus Checks, Student Loan Relief and More
The coronavirus pandemic is killing our economy, and millennials are being hit particularly hard. Financially speaking, the generation is one of the most vulnerable groups, because they haven't had as much time to advance their careers or build up enough wealth to survive tough times.

[EMBED TYPE=WIDGET ID=927] There is help available, though. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created or enhanced a number of relief programs. Other federal government stimulus measures provide money for down-and-out Americans, too. For the millennials out there who are sick, out of work, or otherwise suffering financial hardship because of the coronavirus, these programs can help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible. To that end, here are 7 of the most important economic relief measures for millennials. The country needs you financially strong and back at work contributing with your creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and tech savviness.

SEE ALSO: 9 Things Millennials Are Changing Forever (Like It or Not)

Kiplinger
May 05, 2020

11 Best E-Commerce Stocks for Electrifying Returns
2020 is destined to be known as the year of the coronavirus, when "social distancing" and "WFH" became common parlance.

But for investors, we'll also look back at 2020 as a game-changing year for e-commerce stocks. For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic quickly turned e-commerce from a convenience into a necessity, and changed how we do business, who we shop with and how companies operate.

"Whenever we have a recessionary period, disruption increases substantially. Individuals are losing their jobs and they have to make budget decisions," says David Yepez, lead equity analyst and portfolio manager at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma. "What makes this unique is that we're in a recessionary period, but we can't leave the house, a lot of us. So it's even faster."

Online sales accounted for 16% of spending in the U.S. in 2019, with the total dollar number rising from $461 billion in 2017 to $602 billion last year. That upward trend should continue. While people won't always have to shop online out of sheer necessity, the longer people stay indoors for their safety, the greater the chance that new habits will form, bolstering the fortunes of rising e-commerce stocks.

"E-commerce giants have risen to the challenge and largely met consumer expectations," says Jeremie Capron, director of research at New Yor-based index, advisory, and research company Robo Global. "As a result, we expect an increase in adoption, not only during this crisis but also on the other side of it."

Here, then, are the 11 best e-commerce stocks to buy if you want to capitalize on this unprecedented disruption - not just in the U.S., but across the world.

SEE ALSO: 50 Top Stock Picks That Billionaires Love

Kiplinger
May 05, 2020

How to Buy a Car (for Less!) During COVID-19
Safety first, but don't rule out the old-school approach of just picking up the phone and calling your local dealer.

Kiplinger
May 05, 2020

What a Payroll Tax Cut Would Mean for You
President Trump wants to see a payroll tax cut in the next stimulus bill. Would you benefit from it and, if so, by how much?

Kiplinger
May 05, 2020

Struggling to Pay Child Support or Alimony Due to Coronavirus? Some Tips to Help
If you are suffering financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, don't wait. Take action ASAP. Here's where to start and what to do until your income bounces back.

Kiplinger
May 04, 2020

8 Dirt-Cheap Index Mutual Funds for Thrifty Investors
Cost is one of the biggest edges for index mutual funds, which don't need to pay large money management teams to run the show. Annual expenses pull on your returns both in the form of actual fees paid and lost opportunity cost; every dollar you don't pay a fund provider is a dollar that's getting invested and compounding over time.

But index funds' actual performance isn't anything to sneeze at, either. Actively managed mutual funds routinely fail to beat the benchmark indices, and it has been that way for a long time. So if you can't beat the index, why not join it?

Selecting an index fund comes down to knowing the index you want to track, then finding an inexpensive product that does it. That straightforward nature makes index funds an ideal choice for most investors, but especially beginners looking to gain broad market exposure cheaply and efficiently. Today, we'll help start your search by examining index mutual funds that provide inexpensive access to popular stock and bond benchmarks.

You'll notice a theme: Fidelity Investments is large and in charge. Scott O'Reilly, head of index, sector, international and factor products at Fidelity, says the company can keep expenses low thanks to its status as a private firm with access to scale.

Technology also is "an essential part of the investment and operational processes," he says. "Investments in technology help drive efficiencies that allow us to manage index funds at a low cost."

With that in mind, here are eight of the cheapest index mutual funds tracking eight of the most common stock- and bond-market indices.

SEE ALSO: The Kip 25: The Best Low-Fee Mutual Funds You Can Buy

Kiplinger
May 04, 2020

Buffett Jettisons Airline Stocks, Still Cheerleads America
It's safe to say the market will be following changes to Berkshire's portfolio this year with more than a little anxiety.

Kiplinger
May 04, 2020

Is the Worst Over for Stocks?
Even if it isn't, investors who wait for the market bottom may well miss it.

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