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Kiplinger
Jan 22, 2020

The 5 Best Stock Funds for Retirement Savers in 2020
What a difference a year makes. On Christmas Eve 2018, the S&P 500 closed sharply down, bringing its peak-to-trough losses to 19.8% - just shy of the 20% loss that defines a bear market. Even many of the best stock funds were clobbered. You had to look hard to find any optimistic market watchers that winter.

In contrast, with the S&P 500 up a stunning 29% in the year just ended, most market gurus are expecting good tidings in 2020 - albeit much more muted gains than 2019 produced.

Last year was yet another one in which growth walloped value, even though growth stocks are significantly overpriced compared to value stocks. (Yes, growth stocks are supposed to be more expensive than value stocks - but not by nearly the gap that exists today.) Similarly, foreign stocks again lagged U.S. stocks despite being cheaper than U.S. stocks when measured against earnings and sales.

The lessons I take away from that? Overweight foreign and value stocks slightly, but don't get carried away. Don't try to time the market, and be patient with what looks attractive. Diversification is still your best friend.

With that in mind, here are my five best stock funds for retirement savers in 2020.

SEE ALSO: The 25 Best Low-Fee Mutual Funds to Buy in 2020

Kiplinger
Jan 22, 2020

2020 Tax Calendar: Important IRS Tax Due Dates and Deadlines
Know the tax deadlines that apply to you, so you won't be hit with IRS penalties or miss out on a valuable tax break.

Kiplinger
Jan 22, 2020

2019 Was a Great Year for Investors. How Should You Invest Your Money in 2020?
The market was hot in 2019, but investors shouldn't count on a repeat performance going forward. With that in mind, here are four smart moves to position yourself well in 2020.

Kiplinger
Jan 22, 2020

Setting Your Kids Up for Financial Independence
Unless you like the idea of a permanent boarder in your basement, you need to teach your children fiscal responsibility. Here are the most critical lessons you need to put them on the right path.

Kiplinger
Jan 21, 2020

30 Massive Dividend Increases From the Past Year
The S&P 500's dividend stocks provided shareholders with an average payout boost of more than 8% in 2019. However, a number of outstanding companies announced far more substantial dividend increases - 20%, 30% or more. In a few cases, companies more than doubled their payouts overnight.

Companies often authorize significant upgrades in their regular dividends to attract new investors or stand out from industry competitors. While one-time influxes of cash will often go toward buybacks or one-time special dividends, firms that believe they can maintain heightened levels of profitability will return some of that money through larger regular payouts.

You'll notice that many of the past year's largest dividend increases came from the banking industry. That's in part because some large banks that were sitting on stockpiles of cash received permission from government regulators to distribute their excess capital to investors. Another major impetus for dividend growth was tax reform, which bumped up after-tax profits for many American companies, including banks.

Here, we look at 30 companies that stood out over the past year because of their outsize dividend increases. Each dividend growth stock listed here improved its regular payout by at least 20% in 2019, though in numerous cases, the dividend improved by considerably more. Let's take a look.

SEE ALSO: The Pros' Picks: 13 Top Dividend Stocks for 2020

Kiplinger
Jan 21, 2020

5 Ways Your 401(k) Is a Tax Trap (and What to Do about It)
Just about every financial expert I know advises savers to contribute to their company's 401(k) plan -- at least enough to receive the employer's matching contribution.

I can't argue any differently.

That company match is free money -- a bonus from the boss -- so why not cash in if you can?

And, of course, the tax breaks are another bonus. Because the money comes out of your paycheck before taxes are calculated and compounds every year without a bill from Uncle Sam, investing in a defined contribution plan is bound to make April 15 more tolerable.

Not a bad deal, right?

Until you're ready to retire, that is. That's when a 401(k) (or 403(b) or traditional IRA) suddenly becomes the worst possible retirement plan, from a tax perspective, a saver could have. Here's why:

SEE ALSO: The 9 Types of People You'll Meet in Retirement Written by Michael Reese, CFP®, the founder and principal of Centennial Advisors LLC, which has offices in Austin, Texas, and Traverse City, Mich. Michael's vision is to help American retirees "re-think" how they manage their financial portfolios during their retirement years.



Kiplinger
Jan 21, 2020

Making and Keeping New Year's Resolutions for Retirement
Three small steps to take now that can address longevity risks in the future.

Kiplinger
Jan 21, 2020

How to Build Your Wealth in Your 40s
Retirement is still years away, but it's closer than you think. This is the decade to get your financial ducks in a row.

Kiplinger
Jan 20, 2020

Don't Let Bad Timing Be Your Biggest Retirement Mistake
Prolonged stock market drops, especially early in retirement, can be utterly devastating. To protect yourself, break out the bucket strategy.

Kiplinger
Jan 20, 2020

How to Build Your Wealth in Your 30s
You're being pulled in so many directions at this stage of life, and so is your money. To set yourself up for a successful financial future, start by defining what it is that you really value.

Kiplinger
Jan 17, 2020

How the Stock Market Performed During the Clinton Impeachment
Will Donald Trump's trial disrupt the red-hot rally? History suggests it won't.

Kiplinger
Jan 17, 2020

13 Super Small-Cap Stocks to Buy for 2020 and Beyond
Small-cap stocks lagged the S&P 500 by a wide margin last year. However, strategists say these smaller companies are set to catch up (and more) in 2020.

"We see three favorable factors in place for small-cap stocks: a slow economy, an accommodative Fed, and the calendar, all of which add up to positive prospects for this asset class," asset manager Legg Mason says.

To get an idea of which small-cap stocks are set to break away from the pack, we scoured the S&P SmallCap 600 Index - which includes stocks worth between $450 million and $2.1 billion at the time they enter the index - looking for names with an average broker recommendation of Buy or Strong Buy. Why? Small caps can be a risky lot given their often narrow businesses and access to capital - but a bullish consensus from the pros is at least a signal that those risks might be smaller compared to their peers, and that the potential upside is worth it.

S&P Global Market Intelligence 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.

We further culled that pool by considering only stocks with market values of at least $1 billion and a minimum of five Strong Buy recommendations. Lastly, we dug into research, fundamentals and headlines. The result is a list of 13 promising small-cap stocks to buy for 2020.

SEE ALSO: 20 Top Stock Picks the Analysts Love for 2020

Kiplinger
Jan 17, 2020

One Way to Avoid a Potential White-Knuckle Ride Through Retirement
With a bull market entering its 11th year, retirees need to protect themselves from stomach-dropping volatility. Annuities can be one tool to consider.

Kiplinger
Jan 17, 2020

Maryland Governor Proposes Major Tax Cut for Retirees
Gov. Hogan hopes $1 billion in additional tax relief will make it more affordable for retirees to stay in Maryland.

Kiplinger
Jan 17, 2020

Prepare for Detours in the Market: Manage Your Plan in Real-Time
When the stock market takes a dive, retirees with resilient income allocation plans still get by swimmingly. Here's what that looks like.

Kiplinger
Jan 17, 2020

Is the Stock Market Closed on MLK Day?
Both the stock markets and bond markets will have Monday off as the nation honors civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Kiplinger
Jan 16, 2020

Why I Love Annuities, and So Should You
Guaranteed income is something everyone needs throughout their retirement, and the right annuity can provide that.

Kiplinger
Jan 15, 2020

The 25 Best Low-Fee Mutual Funds to Buy in 2020
The Kiplinger 25 list of our favorite no-load mutual funds dates back to 2004, and our coverage of mutual funds goes all the way back to the 1950s. We believe in holding funds rather than trading them, so we focus on promising mutual funds with solid long-term records - and managers with tenures to match.

A good garden will feature a mix of tall evergreens, midsize perennial flowering plants, fast-growing ground covers and maybe a showy piece such as a sculpted topiary. Some require regular tending, while others can be left alone. Some might flower in the spring; others blaze with richly hued foliage in the fall. Each plant is chosen for its individual merits, but together they form a beautiful garden.

Assembling a portfolio of mutual funds is much the same. We consider several variables and a mix of strategies when we select our favorite actively managed no-load funds. We think the "Kip 25" represents the cream of the crop, although a fund here and a fund there might not be appropriate for your specific portfolio needs and investing horizon. The group is a diverse collection that ranges across large- and small-cap funds, international and U.S. holdings, and bonds of all sorts. Just like a mix of plant varieties, they thrive at different times and in different conditions.

Here are our picks for the best 25 low-fee mutual funds as we enter 2020: what makes them tick, and what kind of returns they've delivered.

SEE ALSO: The 30 Best Mutual Funds in 401(k) Retirement Plans

Kiplinger
Jan 15, 2020

Four Steps for a Financially Fit New Year
Get your finances in shape in 2020 with these four resolutions.

Kiplinger
Jan 14, 2020

The 11 Best Closed-End Funds (CEFs) for 2020
Investors should be seeking out diversification and income-producing assets as they enter a potentially wild 2020 - especially after 2019's monster run. Closed-end funds (CEFs) provide both, reducing the risk of slower or even negative returns if this year proves to look more like 2018 than 2019.

While mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) get a lot of attention, CEFs fly well under the radar by comparison. You can learn more about closed-end funds in detail here. But in short: These actively managed funds offer a few advantages, including sometimes trading below the value of the assets they hold (which means investors can buy those assets at a discount), as well as being able to leverage debt to generate extra returns and income from their portfolio picks. The best CEFs, then, are capable of clobbering similarly constructed mutual funds and ETFs.

Yes, the very short-term outlook is encouraging. The market's on a heater to enter the year, U.S.-Chinese trade relations are thawing, unemployment remains low, wages continue to grow, and GDP growth, while not as brisk as it once was, remains solidly positive.

But sky-high stock valuations, Middle East discord and a looming presidential election cycle are among the potential headwinds standing in the way of a peaceful stroll higher in 2020. So indeed, investors might need some protection this year - and closed-end funds can deliver that.

Here are the 11 best CEFs to buy for 2020. This list of elite funds covers an array of assets and investing strategies. Each pick boasts various perks, which may include deep value, high distribution rates and strong track records.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best ETFs to Buy for a Prosperous 2020

Kiplinger
Jan 14, 2020

How to Make Investing More Meaningful
Saving and investing may seem mundane to some, but there are ways to make it more fulfilling. Here are three strategies to do good things with your money, now and long after you're gone.

Kiplinger
Jan 14, 2020

A Tale of Two Investors: 1 Panicked and 1 Didn't
Two clients' true stories during the last bear market reveal the pitfalls and opportunities that come with investing in uncertain times. Do you see yourself in this tale?

Kiplinger
Jan 13, 2020

The 7 Best Financial Stocks for 2020
Financial stocks are among the market sectors facing an extremely uncertain future in 2020.

Last year saw the sector pushed and pulled by factors including three Federal Reserve rate cuts, waffling on the U.S.-China trade deal and weak but eventually improving economic data from some of the world's largest economies. Financial stocks still managed a 29% gain amid the turmoil.

But 2019 might seem like a cakewalk compared to what's ahead. Low interest rates still are hampering commercial banks, and no one is quite sure what's in store from the Fed. Meanwhile, the U.S. and China have a much more difficult path to finish the job started by their "phase-one" trade deal, and the 2020 election cycle will have Wall Street guessing all year at whether bank stocks will enjoy another accommodative presidential term.

As a result, analysts' top picks in the financial sector aren't your usual "who's who" of big banks and insurers. While there are a couple of well-known consumer names, emerging fintech firms and smaller financial companies are catching the analyst community's eye.

Here, then, are the seven best financial stocks to buy for 2020. We've used the Stock Screener tool from TipRanks to narrow down the sector's most compelling investment opportunities, as seen by Wall Street's analysts. All of these stock picks are so overloaded with bullish opinions, in fact, that they boast a "Strong Buy" consensus rating. Take a look.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best Stocks to Buy for 2020

Kiplinger
Jan 13, 2020

Leverage These 5 Retirement Tax Diversification Strategies
Taxes can be overwhelming in retirement, eating up income that you need to live on. Learn how to minimize taxes through tax diversification.

Kiplinger
Jan 13, 2020

3 New Money Habits for 2020 (No. 1 Is Forget Budgets!)
It's time to set financially healthy goals for the year. You'll be glad you did.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

How Much Can You Contribute to a 401(k) for 2020?
The 401(k) contribution limit increased by $500 for 2020. Plus, workers 50 and older can also save an extra amount for retirement.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

How Much Can You Contribute to a Traditional IRA for 2020?
The contribution limit for traditional IRAs holds steady for 2020.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

How Much Can You Contribute to a Roth IRA for 2020?
The Roth IRA contribution limit remains the same for 2020 as it was for 2019. Retirement savers 50 and older can contribute an extra amount. Income limits apply.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

How Much Can You Contribute to a Roth 401(k) for 2020?
The Roth 401(k) contribution limit increased by $500 for 2020. Workers 50 and older can save an extra amount for retirement.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

How Much Can You Contribute to a Solo 401(k) for 2020?
Some self-employed savers can put away as much as $63,500 for retirement in a solo 401(k) in 2020, depending on age and compensation.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

How Much Can You Contribute to a SIMPLE IRA for 2020?
The maximum amount workers at small businesses can contribute to a SIMPLE IRA for 2020 is $500 higher than it was for 2019.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

How Much Can You Contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan for 2020?
Federal workers and military personnel can save more in their TSP retirement accounts in 2020.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

How Much Can You Contribute to a SEP IRA for 2020?
The maximum SEP IRA contribution is higher for 2020 than it was for 2019.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

How Much Can You Contribute to a 457 Retirement Plan for 2020?
State and local government workers can contribute $500 more to their 457 plans in 2020 than they could in 2019. Some workers can make additional catch-up contributions, too.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

How Much Can You Contribute to a 403(b) for 2020?
Teachers and nonprofit workers can contribute $500 more to their 403(b) retirement savings plan in 2020 than they could in 2019. Plus, the catch-up contribution has increased, too.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

11 S&P 500 Stocks That Could Soar 20% or More in 2020
Never say never, but it's hard to see stocks follow their amazing 2019 returns for a second straight year.

S&P 500 stocks sent the index a whopping 29% higher in 2020. That's a big deal. Keep in mind that the market's long-term average annual gain comes to about 7.7%, then factor in the tendency for share performance to revert to the mean, and the odds of another boffo year are slim.

Indeed, years in which the S&P 500 rises at least 20% generate an average gain of only 6.6% the following year, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

But that doesn't mean investors can't try to replicate 2019's party by seeding their holdings with stocks expected to blow away the broader market. To find stocks primed to outperform, we scoured the S&P 500 for stocks with expected price gains of at least 20% this year. We supplemented that research by limiting ourselves to stocks that are Buy-rated or better by Wall Street analysts, as well as boast promising fundamentals, attractive valuations and other bullish features.

Here, then, are 11 of the best S&P 500 stocks you can buy for outsize gains in 2020. Based analysts' projected price returns, Wall Street expects these names to rally from 20% to more than 35% this year.

SEE ALSO: 20 Top Stock Picks the Analysts Love for 2020

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

How to Lose Your Case in Small Claims Court
Here's a story about how a predatory company that took advantage of a naive homeowner won its small claims court case, even though it shouldn't have. It holds lessons for anyone thinking about filing a suit themselves.

Kiplinger
Jan 10, 2020

Wealthy People Need Budgets Too: It's Called Cash Flow Management
The power of understanding your spending is priceless. Successfully managing your spending and personal cash flow is key to meeting your short- and long-term financial goals.

Kiplinger
Jan 09, 2020

Investors' Worst Enemy in 2020 Could Be Their Own Brains
Hindsight bias, recency bias and sunk cost fallacy are just three of several cognitive biases that investors need to overcome to achieve their financial objectives this year. To beat these biases, take your emotions out of the mix.

Kiplinger
Jan 09, 2020

Want to Beat Boring CDs? Munis Can Be a Conservative Way to Increase Yield
Municipal bonds come with some risks that bank CDs don't, but there are ways to minimize them while still getting a better return. Plus, the interest you earn is tax free, and who doesn't love that?

Kiplinger
Jan 08, 2020

10 Best Utility Stocks to Buy for 2020
When investors think defense, they think utility stocks.

The S&P 500's utility sector behaved anything but defensively in 2019, however. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU) delivered a 25.9% total return last year - better than more than half the index's sectors, including the revamped, "growthier" communications sector and consumer discretionary stocks.

That's surely a pleasant surprise for utility-stock investors. Many enter the sector looking not for growth, but stability in down markets and the dependable dividends these companies can afford thanks to the often regulated nature of the utility business.

Like most of the market, utility stocks did get stretched as a result of their 2019 run. "The utility sector currently trades at a P/E of 19.3x, versus a 15-year historical average of 15.01x, which represents a 29% premium to the S&P 500," Michael Sheldon, executive director and CIO of financial planner RDM Financial Group, told Kiplinger in a December email.

While Sheldon is concerned about the sector's valuation, he's also quick to point out that many utility stocks have low beta - a measure of volatility. Thus, they're still providing more stability compared to the overall market.

Here are 10 of the best utility stocks to buy for 2020. This isn't your usual group of utilities, either. While some of these names should be expected to provide a traditional combination of dividend income and lower volatility, a few are set up for potential growth thanks to their connection to green-energy initiatives.

SEE ALSO: The Pros' Picks: 20 Top Dividend Stocks for 2020

Kiplinger
Jan 08, 2020

Saving for Retirement: How to React to Market Volatility
A new poll conducted by Kiplinger and Personal Capital reveals concerns about market swings and potential downturns. See how your savings--and confidence level--measure up

Kiplinger
Jan 08, 2020

Moving Forward Financially After the Loss of a Loved One
Even as you work through your grief, there are some important financial tasks to take care of along the way. Here is a framework to use as a starting point.

Kiplinger
Jan 08, 2020

How to Get Off the Hamster Wheel of Debt
Yes, you can pay off your debt and start building wealth. It all starts with determining which debts are "bad" and which ones are "good."

Kiplinger
Jan 07, 2020

Retirees, Get Your Financial Life in Order
Keys to organizing your finances to protect you from bogus claims of unpaid debt and scammers.

Kiplinger
Jan 07, 2020

How Early Can You File Your Tax Return in 2020?
If you're an early bird when it comes to filing your taxes, start gathering your receipts now. The IRS will begin processing 2019 tax returns soon.

Kiplinger
Jan 07, 2020

Tax Day 2020: When's the Last Day to File Taxes?
Unlike last year, all Americans must file their federal income tax return by the same date in 2020.

Kiplinger
Jan 07, 2020

A New Year's Checkup for Financial Success in 2020 and Beyond
Now that a new decade has started, get motivated to make it the best ever for your finances by taking a few practical steps.

Kiplinger
Jan 06, 2020

RMDs: When Do I Have to Take One and How Do I Calculate It?
Required minimum distributions are a fact of life for traditional IRAs. The rules are complex and they've recently changed.

Kiplinger
Jan 06, 2020

Dogs of the Dow 2020: 10 Dividend Stocks to Watch
It's that time of year when Wall Street offers up its many forecasts for the coming 52 weeks, based on anything from earnings growth to interest rates to the possibility of a coming recession - and in 2020, the incessant noise coming from Washington.

Investors are glued to their screens waiting for these oft-faulty prognostications. That's unfortunate, because there's a better way to plan out your year: the Dogs of the Dow.

The Dogs of the Dow is a set-it-and-forget-it plan involving Dow dividend stocks (more on that in a minute). It takes decision-making out of your hands by deferring to the market itself. As long as three concepts are true - the market moves higher in the long run, stocks move into and out of favor, and Dow companies tend to be blue-chip stocks that are intelligently managed and financially stable - the Dogs will do well over time.

That third concept might be debatable when you look back on all the companies that have been booted from the Dow. Remember: General Electric (GE) and Sears (SHLD) used to be members. But for the most part, the Dow remains a blue-chip index.

Read on as we explain the Dogs of the Dow, then analyze the 10 Dow stocks this strategy says you should buy.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best Stocks to Buy for 2020

Kiplinger
Jan 06, 2020

9 Key Practices to Make College Pay Off
Many parents and students wading through college applications are experiencing sticker shock. Couple that with 44 million Americans owing $1.5 trillion in student loan debt and anyone can see why there are growing concerns about the cost and value of a college education.

But there is consistent and compelling evidence that earning a college degree still remains the best path to improve one's job prospects. It's a fact that college graduates earn on average 84% more over their lifetimes than high school graduates.

The question is not whether college is worth it but rather, how do students get the most from their investment, especially with an eye toward building a post-college career?

I believe families need a road map. Let me offer nine essentials for maximizing the return on your tuition dollars.

Written by Adam Weinberg, the 20th president of Denison University. He previously served as president and CEO of World Learning, one of the premier international education, exchange and development organizations, and as vice president and dean of the college at Colgate University, where he was a member of the sociology department for more than a decade.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best College Values With the Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2019

Kiplinger
Jan 06, 2020

Is the Side-Hustle a New Dance Seniors Are Learning?
Judging by the growing numbers of people 55 and older seeking out these gigs, the answer is yes. Maybe there's one that is right for you.

Kiplinger
Jan 03, 2020

10 Things Every Worker Needs to Know About the New W-4 Form for 2020
The IRS had plenty of unhappy customers during the 2019 filing season. A lot of people who got tax refunds in previous years were shocked to discover that they had to pay taxes when they filed their 2018 tax return. The 2017 tax reform law reduced tax rates, doubled the standard deduction, and increased the child credit, which lowered the overall tax bill for many people...but the IRS also reduced the amount of tax withheld from wages in an effort to synchronize withholding with these tax law changes. Things didn't quite work out as planned, though, and many people didn't have enough taxes withheld from their paychecks in 2018 to cover the taxes they owed.

To avoid this problem going forward, the IRS overhauled the process for determining how much federal income tax an employer must withhold from an employee's paycheck. As part of the fix, there's a new Form W-4 for employees to use starting in 2020. It's quite a bit different than the old form, but don't panic--we'll help you out. Here are 10 things you need to know about the new W-4 form. Take a look so you can tackle this new form with confidence.

SEE ALSO: Best States for Low Taxes: 50 States Ranked for Taxes

Kiplinger
Jan 03, 2020

5 Energy ETFs to Buy for Higher Oil Prices
Energy stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) were a miserable bet in 2019. Indeed, the energy sector was the worst-performing sector by a mile, gaining less than 5% - far below the S&P 500's 29% return, and significantly lagging even the second worst sector, health care (18%).

However, despite tepid analyst outlooks for oil and gas prices in 2020, energy ETFs and individual stocks are suddenly being thrust in the spotlight once more.

On Jan. 2, the Pentagon confirmed that the U.S. military killed Qasem Soleimani - a top Iranian general who headed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite Quds Force - with a drone airstrike in Iraq. While the Pentagon said the attack was meant to deter "future Iranian attack plans," Iran nonetheless has vowed "severe revenge." The clear, abrupt escalation in Middle East tensions immediately sent oil prices higher in response.

Whether oil continues to climb is unclear. Tensions could de-escalate. Also, American fracking has changed the playing field. "The major potential risk - to oil markets - is mitigated by the fact that the U.S. is now the largest producer of oil and essentially approaching Energy independence," says Brad McMillan, Chief Investment Officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. "Our oil supplies are much less vulnerable than they were, and the availability of oil exports from the U.S. means that other countries have an alternative source." However, if the conflict worsens - especially if oil tankers and infrastructure are targeted in any violence - oil might continue to spike, regardless.

Here, we explore five energy ETFs to buy to take advantage of higher oil prices. But approach them with caution. Just like increases in crude-oil prices should benefit each of these funds in one way or another, declines in oil have weighed on them in the past, and likely would again.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best ETFs to Buy for a Prosperous 2020

Kiplinger
Jan 03, 2020

14 Robo Advisers: Which Is the Best for You?
Robo advice is ready when and where you want it. Just grab your smartphone, tablet or laptop and click your way through a few questions about your goals, your tolerance for risk and your time horizon. In minutes, the algorithm kicks out a recommendation for a diversified portfolio designed by professional investors that's appropriate for you, typically filled with exchange-traded funds

But before you decide to move your money or roll over an IRA to a robo firm, there are some caveats. For starters, opening an account at these outfits typically requires that you sell your existing holdings. Also, these are advisory accounts, not brokerage accounts. That means, in most cases, you must stick with the recommended portfolio. And there are fees to consider, though they're generally low.

But there is, or will be, a robo for almost every investor. We've sorted through 14 of the best offerings to help you find the one for you.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best ETFs to Buy for a Prosperous 2020

Kiplinger
Jan 03, 2020

Avoid Fraud in 2020 By Writing the Complete Date
Protect your documents from scammers who could change the date on your important documents.

Kiplinger
Jan 03, 2020

Surprise: Your Small Business Probably Needs Auto Insurance
Have you ever sent a worker on a quick trip in his own car to the post office or the bakery to pick up an employee birthday cake? You may have just opened your business up to some serious liability.

Kiplinger
Jan 03, 2020

Retirees Can't Afford to Underestimate Sequence of Return Risk
If the market tanks in the early years of your retirement, you could be in big trouble ... unless you're prepared.

Kiplinger
Jan 02, 2020

Pros' Picks: The 13 Best Dividend Stocks for 2020
The bull market went into overdrive in 2019. The S&P 500 rushed ahead by 29% - its best showing in six years. But as much as investors will always welcome such returns, it does make it tougher to be an income investor.

When dividend stocks go up in price, their yields go down. The dividend yield on the S&P 500 started 2019 at more than 2% but finished the year at 1.8%. Yes, the market keeps setting new all-time highs, but the rally that seems to never end also makes it difficult to find excellent dividend stocks with generous or even decent payouts.

High-quality dividend stocks with better-than-average yields do exist, however. We're here to help you find them.

We scoured the S&P 500 for dividend stocks with yields of at least 2%. From that pool, we focused on stocks with an average broker recommendation of Buy or better. S&P Global Market Intelligence 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.

Here are the 13 best blue-chip dividend stocks for 2020, then, based on the strength of their analyst ratings.

SEE ALSO: Every Warren Buffett Stock Ranked: The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio

Kiplinger
Jan 02, 2020

A New Tax Break for Rental Income


Kiplinger
Jan 02, 2020

The 1 Type of Insurance Every Worker - Especially the Young - May Need
It's likely you'll make over $2 million during your working years. That's something worth insuring, and disability insurance is the way to do it. Here are 10 things to know about this vital coverage.

Kiplinger
Jan 02, 2020

7% on a Fixed Annuity? Don't Believe It.
Ads touting 7% guarantees are misleading, though not quite false. Real rates around 4% range are attractive enough.

Kiplinger
Jan 01, 2020

Three 'Don'ts' for Charitable Giving in 2020
As you think ahead to how you can help make a difference in the new year, here are three things not to do.

Kiplinger
Dec 31, 2019

The 10 Best Consumer Staples Stocks to Buy for 2020
Uncertainty heading into a presidential election cycle, a continued trade war with China (it's only a "Phase One" agreement, after all) and potentially sluggish U.S. economic growth has many Wall Street analysts recommending investors rotate into defensive stocks. And unsurprisingly, consumer staples stocks are getting the nod heading into 2020.

It makes sense. Consumer staples stocks - which provide things that people need on a near-daily basis, from food to toiletries - make excellent investments in virtually every economic environment, but they're especially attractive during economic slowdowns. That's because people simply can't cut back on consumer staples like they can other products. As a result, the sector has historically outperformed the broader market during downturns.

"We expect the market to vacillate between a pro-cyclical outcome and a defensive one as data comes in and trade tensions and the election evolve," Mike Wilson, Morgan Stanley's chief U.S. equity strategist, wrote in a note to clients in early December. "We slightly favor the more defensive outcome given our well below the consensus forecast for S&P 500 earnings growth next year."

Admittedly, if we get another bull run like we did in 2019, consumer staples might lag a bit. While their 2019 total return (price plus dividends) through Dec. 30 of 27.3% is far better than their 12-year average annual return of 10.4%, it still was about three percentage points behind the S&P 500. However, if the market gets choppy, and especially if a correction or bear move is in the cards, expect this sector to shine.

Against that backdrop, here are the best consumer staples stocks to buy for 2020. These picks, which include a pair of funds, offer an ideal combination of growth, downside protection and yield that should come in handy if turbulence kicks up in 2020.

SEE ALSO: Hedge Funds' Top 25 Blue-Chip Stocks to Buy Now

Kiplinger
Dec 31, 2019

Buttress a Nest Egg With a Cash Stash
That cash bucket will come in handy if your riskier accounts, such as stocks or bonds, are in a bear market.

Kiplinger
Dec 31, 2019

You Need an Asset Allocation Plan Even More in a Bull Market
It's tempting to overinvest in stocks today, but everyone needs some safe ballast. For part of your safe-money portion, fixed annuities offer guarantees, higher rates and tax deferral.

Kiplinger
Dec 31, 2019

Pros, Cons and Possible Disasters after SECURE Act
Sweeping retirement changes were just signed into law that bring both positives (for savers) and potentially disastrous consequences (for heirs). Here are five important things everyone should do right now.

Kiplinger
Dec 30, 2019

The 20 Best ETFs to Buy for a Prosperous 2020
All bets are off for 2020. We could talk about any number of potential growth catalysts or looming hurdles for the new year, but overshadowing them all is the chaos machine of the presidential election. The best ETFs to buy for 2020, as a result, are designed to take advantage of feasible political outcomes, calmly weather the storm or barrel forward regardless of what the new year brings.

That's no prophecy of utter doom and gloom, mind you. Indeed, there are plenty of pockets of optimism to be found.

2019's slowdown in worldwide economic growth might have kept stocks from roaring even louder than they did, but Morgan Stanley believes global GDP growth will rebound in 2020 - a potential driver for the market. FactSet, meanwhile, reports that the new year's estimated earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 Index should come in at 9.6%, which is above the 10-year average. (Analysts are even more confident, looking for profit growth "just over 10%," according to Kiplinger's 2020 investing outlook.)

That said, even the most hopeful of S&P 500 targets for 2020 call for roughly 10%-11% returns - most are closer to the 5%-7% range, and a few are calling for flat performance or worse. So while you do want to anchor your portfolio with a few broad, go-anywhere funds, many of the best ETFs for the year ahead will have to attack specific slices of the market.

Here are the 20 best ETFs to buy for 2020. This is an intentionally wide selection of ETFs that meet a number of different objectives. We don't suggest investors go out and stash each and every one of these funds in their portfolio; instead, read on and discover which well-built funds best match what you're trying to accomplish, from buy-and-hold income plays to high-risk, high-reward shots.

SEE ALSO: The 30 Best Mutual Funds in 401(k) Retirement Plans

Kiplinger
Dec 30, 2019

Does Your Credit Card Measure Up?
Knowing your card's mechanics can help you avoid high rates and fees.

Kiplinger
Dec 30, 2019

The Kiplinger Letter's Must-Read Political and Economic Forecasts for 2020
The annual outlook reveals what to expect from the U.S. economy, trade tensions, the future of coal, weed, GOP election victories and more.

Kiplinger
Dec 30, 2019

Is the Stock Market Open on New Year's Eve?
Yes, the stock market is open on New Year's Eve during normal trading hours. New Year's Day is a stock market holiday.

Kiplinger
Dec 30, 2019

4 Estate Strategies for Affluent Retirees Under the SECURE Act
Successful estate planning takes taxes into consideration, and some significant retirement legislation that just became law changes the equation on that. Here are four specific ways to protect your heirs and yourself.

Kiplinger
Dec 30, 2019

A Warning for All owners of Personal Breathalyzers
Just in time for New Year's Eve, take a lesson from one breathalyzer owner's experience. He was trying to be responsible and do the right thing, but he made one critical mistake.

Kiplinger
Dec 28, 2019

2020 Stock Market Holidays and Bond Market Holidays
Is the market open today? Take a look at which holidays the stock markets and bond markets take off in 2020.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

5 Marvelous Mid-Cap Funds
In theory, midsize-company stocks operate in a sweet spot for investors. No longer struggling to get out of the gates, these financially mature firms, led by experienced executives, should come with more stability than small companies. They should also offer greater potential for growth than mega-size firms, whose shares have market capitalizations (stock price multiplied by shares outstanding) that run into the hundreds of billions.

In practice, the theory holds true over longer periods of time. Over the past 20 years, constituents of the Russell Midcap index, which currently sport market caps between $2 billion and $35 billion, have boosted earnings per share at a faster rate, on average, than their large- and small-cap counterparts. During the same period, mid caps have been about 14% more volatile than stocks in the large-cap Standard & Poor's 500-stock index and 15% less volatile than the small-cap Russell 2000 index. And in just about any time frame you choose--whether it's 10, 15, 20 or 30 years--mid-cap stocks have outperformed both their smaller and larger counterparts.

As of June 2019, mid-cap stocks represented 26% of the U.S. stock market, but only 11% of assets in U.S. mutual funds, according to asset manager Carillon Tower Advisers. If you're considering upping your stake in medium-size firms, consider the following funds, which focus mostly on mid caps. All have able managers, impressive long-term track records and are open to new investors.

SEE ALSO: Buy Mid Caps on the Cheap

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

Eco-Friendly Tips for Sustainable Trips
Follow these practical tips to minimize the environmental impact of your travel in retirement.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

Let Me Explain
Yes, the new tax law trimmed our tax bill, although I had hoped it would lower it even more.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

4 Reasons to Sell a Mutual Fund
Buy-and-hold is a great investing approach, but sometimes you just gotta let go.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

AMG TimesSquare International Small Cap's Turnaround
Two of the fund's biggest losers became its biggest winners in 2019.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

Vanguard High-Yield Tax-Exempt: Don't Call It Junk
Despite its name, this muni bond fund is keeping an eye on risk.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

Taxable Munis? They're Worth a Look
Sound describes the credit quality. But it doesn't do justice to the stellar performance.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

Hoya Capital Housing (HOMZ): A Well-Built ETF
This fund invests in all aspects of the real estate market.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

Luxury Stocks: Profit from Indulgence
Luxury-goods houses ride high on the power of individual brands--names that evoke style, quality and endurance.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

Look Out for These Scams
Stay alert for phony sales at stores and other tricks.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

Track Your Charitable Donations Online
A new charity-rating online tool measures the impact of every dollar donated to a particular organization.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

Should You Bank With Google?
Tech companies may offer better deals than traditional banks. But there's a trade-off.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

Great Getaways That Won't Break the Bank
A strong dollar and more competition are creating travel bargains here and abroad.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

How to Beat Pesky Fees
No matter how much you try to swat them away, pesky fees keep nibbling at your travel bookings, wireless plans, bank accounts, investments and pretty much every other part of your financial life. Although the fees may not seem like much on their own, they can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year, putting a big dent in your wallet.

Here, we've listed common fees in five categories, plus ways to eliminate or reduce them. Some of the fees are legitimate--professionals such as investment advisers and real estate brokers deserve compensation, after all. But if you're overpaying for a service, you can make moves to tug down the rate. And with some preparation and knowledge, you can wipe out the most irritating charges.

SEE ALSO: ?Your Financial Planning Calendar for 2020

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

Make Charitable Giving Part of Your Holiday Season -- and Part of Your Financial Life
Giving back is something you can do all year round with the right plan. And that plan can be broken down to giving during your lean early years, your prime earning years and finally your retirement years.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

How to Stay Flexible in Saving for Your Child's Future
The college experience and career world are changing, offering parents and students alike new options to make it work.

Kiplinger
Dec 27, 2019

One Retirement Risk You May Have Overlooked
No one wants to think their retirement security could depend on some stock market luck. But in a way, unless you've accounted for what's known as sequence of returns risk, bad luck could dash your dreams.

Kiplinger
Dec 26, 2019

10 Moves to Make Sure You Have Enough Money in Retirement
As you approach retirement, it's easy to become fixated on the magic number--a pot of money large enough to allow you to retire comfortably without outliving your savings. But figuring out whether you can afford to retire requires math, not magic, along with a thoughtful analysis of how you plan to spend your time and money.

Plenty of online calculators will help you figure out whether you can afford to retire based on the amount of money you'll need to replace a specific percentage your current income. A popular rule of thumb suggests that you should plan on replacing 70% of what you currently make, or 80% if you want to live large.

But this guideline is deeply flawed, financial planners say. We'll walk you through the steps to come up with a realistic estimate of how much money you'll need to retire in style.

SEE ALSO: 15 Reasons You'll Go Broke in Retirement

Kiplinger
Dec 26, 2019

Electric Cars Cruise Into the Mainstream
Sales are rising, but they're still best for commuting and shorter drives.

Kiplinger
Dec 26, 2019

Financial Surprises Retirees (and Those About to Retire) Want to Avoid
Even the most diligent pre-retiree planner can get tripped up by unpleasant financial surprises. Follow these tips.

Kiplinger
Dec 26, 2019

The 11 Best Growth Stocks to Buy for 2020
Growth stocks had a long runway in 2019, despite long stretches of volatility thanks to seesaw trade relations with China and a consistently strong dollar weighing on results. And as in most years, 2020 should provide plenty of opportunity for growth investments to thrive yet again.

If you're wondering where to start your search, just zoom in on hot or emerging trends.

Mobile payments, for instance, are expected to account for one out of every four dollars spent on American credit cards in 2020. Software has firmly supplanted hardware as the technology sector's driver thanks to the more consistent revenues it drives. And increasing sums are being spent on cloud computing, where remote servers are being leaned on to manage and process large troves of data.

Technology isn't the only place you'll find growth stocks in 2020, however. Advances in medicine make the health-care sector a source of high growth, too, and you can even find a couple pockets of explosive potential in the much-maligned retail industry.

Here, we explore the 11 best growth stocks to buy for 2020. Most of these companies were on pace to deliver double-digit revenue growth across 2019 - and each is expected to deliver sales improvement of at least 15% during the coming year.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best Stocks to Buy for 2020

Kiplinger
Dec 26, 2019

Reach Your Money Goals in 2020 with a Financial Bucket List
To get started, here are four must-do items to add to your list before you retire.

Kiplinger
Dec 24, 2019

A Retiree's Guide to Key Dates in 2020
Now is the time to assess your financial situation, look ahead and mark your calendar.

Kiplinger
Dec 24, 2019

Financial Advice Women Should Seek Before Divorcing or Separating
Money shouldn't be a deciding factor in whether you end your marriage, but it plays a part in the thought process. Get a grip on your finances before you take any big steps. It'll put you in the best position possible, no matter what.

Kiplinger
Dec 24, 2019

A Widow's Broker Made a Huge Mistake
A step-up in basis can be a massive tax benefit for surviving spouses, but only if it's managed correctly. And sometimes, as in this case, important details can fall through the cracks.

Kiplinger
Dec 23, 2019

Which Robo Adviser Is Right for You?
We sift through the pros and cons of the growing number of low-cost digital advisers.

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