• Quotes
  • Shortcuts
The Executive's Internet
Tues, Sept 22nd
editor corner icon Editor's Corner | Archive
Five COVID-19 aftershocks reshaping mobility's future: The pandemic will change the face of mobility, both now and when the crisis ends. Patricia
site of the day icon Site of the Day | Archive
The Greatest Novels of all time
The Top 50 greatest fiction books of all time determined by 116 lists and articles from various critics, authors and experts.



Setup News Ticker
Sep 22, 2020

Stock Market Today: Tech Stocks on Top Again as Fed Seeks a Helping Hand
The seesaw in market leadership tilted back toward tech on Tuesday as Federal Reserve leaders continued to stump for Congressional help and as European COVID concerns continued to bubble.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell told the House Committee on Financial Services that, while the economy is indeed improving, continued progress is "highly uncertain" and continued to stress the importance of additional fiscal stimulus. Separately, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans was more specific, saying the country risks "recessionary dynamics" without a new rescue package.

SEE MORE The 25 Best Low-Fee Mutual Funds to Buy in 2020 Meanwhile, the U.K. announced earlier closing hours on pubs and restaurants Tuesday, a day after Deutsche Bank analysts said to "expect lots more restrictions over the days and weeks ahead."

The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.7% to 10,963 thanks to gains in the tech and communications sectors. It was also helped by a 5.7% surge in Amazon.com (AMZN), which received a Buy call from Bernstein, launched a $499 Peloton (PTON, -0.4) knock-off bike called Prime Bike and set the stage for this year's Prime Day.

Other action in the stock market today:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average improved by 0.5% to 27,288.The S&P 500 gained 1.1% to 3,315. The small-cap Russell 2000 finished 0.7% higher to 1,496. Tesla

Sep 22, 2020

When Is Amazon Prime Day 2020?
Bargain hunters know Amazon Prime Day, when online shopping behemoth Amazon.com rolls out a bevy of deals on all manner of merchandise, is typically in July, but there's nothing typical about 2020. And to that point, Amazon Prime Day was not in July this year. So when is Amazon Prime Day in 2020?

SEE MORE 31 Best Amazon Prime Benefits to Use in 2020 There are signs it's coming soon. Amazon.com is now teasing the hugely popular Prime Day with an online landing page that simply says -- wait for it -- "It's Coming."

CNET, citing unnamed sources, said that Amazon is targeting Oct. 13 for the beginning of Amazon Prime Day 2020. Vacation dates for Amazon workers are blacked out for the week beginning Oct. 13, CNET reports. But that doesn't mean it's locked in; we'll keep you updated. Amazon could still decide to fold its Prime Day into other other big upcoming retail sales events, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the weeks leading up to the holidays.

Throughout the pandemic, Amazon prioritized customers' orders for healthcare supplies and other essential items for fighting COVID-19 and surviving quarantines. As a result, it has had trouble fulfilling its two-day (or shorter) delivery promise for Prime members, who pay $119 annually for quick delivery and other amenities. As you might imagine, Amazon's been overwhelmed with orders from folks preferring the safety of shopping at home.

Prime "Day" is actually a misnomer. In 2019, Amazon Prime Day covered 48 hours, up from the traditional 24- to 36-hour duration of previous Prime Days. That helped the retailer set records during Prime Day 2019, Amazon reported, even outpacing its combined sales for Black Friday a

Sep 22, 2020

13 Best Warren Buffett Growth Stocks
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), is known as perhaps the greatest value investor of all time, but that doesn't mean he has no use for growth stocks.

On the contrary, Buffett has even recently participated in the initial public offering of a red-hot technology stock. The Oracle of Omaha surprised pretty much everyone when Berkshire bought shares in Snowflake (SNOW) as the software firm executed the largest software IPO ever in mid-September.

But while Snowflake does represent an unusual purchase for Buffett's holding company, it's hardly his only growth play. The Berkshire Hathaway equity portfolio is, in fact, teeming with growth stocks. Its single-largest holding is a high-performance tech equity, and another blue-chip name Buffett has held for more than 50 years is a growth stock. The designation applies to a host of other holdings, too.

Given that growth has been outperforming value for roughly a decade now, it's worthwhile to suss out the best of Warren Buffett's growth stocks. Read on as we look at Berkshire's top growth holdings based on analysts' long-term earnings expectations, which range from anywhere between about 9% and more than 40% annually.

SEE MORE All 30 Dow Stocks Ranked: The Pros Weigh In Price and analyst info as of Sept. 21. Analyst inf

Sep 22, 2020

Thinking About Day Trading? Read This First
In the midst of the pandemic, you may have noticed a rather unusual trend: More and more people are jumping into the stock market.

Despite, or perhaps even because of, extreme volatility in the market and endless speculation about what could happen next — not just with the economy but in the wider world due to the seismic shifts we're experiencing because of COVID-19 — there's been a recent proliferation of day trading.

SEE MORE When Online Investing Turns Deadly: Lessons from a Robinhood Trader's Suicide While the mediums might be new — Robinhood wasn't around 20 or even 10 years ago — the sudden spike in the popularity of day trading isn't. We saw a similar rush of interest during the dot-com bubble.

That might point to one of the reasons for the recent interest in this extremely speculative (and therefore exceedingly risky) way of participating in financial markets: When times are bad and things get tough, people will look for seemingly new or easier ways to make ends meet.

Unfortunately, despite what you might hear from a co-worker, neighbor or friend, day trading is rarely a good solution for most folks. So, if you've been considering joining in on this currently popular trend, I'd urge you to reconsider before you put your hard-earned money at risk.

Day Trading Isn't an Easy Way to Wealth The Wall Street Journal recently wrote a piece on the flurry of activity on day trading platforms. It's an article that gives reason for concern on many levels.

For example, take Sharmila Viswasam, who shared some of her story with the WSJ for the article. She's a 38-year-old real estate agent who couldn't work due to the pandemic  — and found that her unempl

Sep 22, 2020

5 All-Too-Common Financial ‘Sins' … and How to Atone for Them
The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, is rapidly approaching. Like many others in the Jewish community, I spend the day fasting, praying and reflecting on the past year. This year, in particular, offers no shortage of events upon which to reflect. I, and many people around the globe, have experienced plenty of personal challenges in 2020. Reflecting upon these events I hope to gain some perspective, allowing me to re-evaluate my priorities and make me into an overall better person.

As a financial adviser, every year around this time I have the same epiphany: Investors should also set aside time to reflect on their money decisions of the past year. While there doesn't need to be a specific day for this type of introspection, making sure to review these choices periodically is an important component of the financial planning process.

Many of the poor financial decisions that investors make are avoidable with proper education and tweaking one's lifestyle. Below are five common personal "financial sins" for which investors and retirement savers may need to atone.

SEE MORE 7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement

Sep 21, 2020

Where You Should Invest Now
Ryan Ermey: Between the upcoming election and, oh yeah, the ongoing pandemic, uncertainty abounds in investing markets. Kiplinger.com investing guru Kyle Woodley joins the show to answer burning investor questions in our main segment. On today's show, Sandy and I discuss the documents you'll need to keep handy in case of a natural disaster and end the show with an important programming announcement. That's all ahead on this episode of Your Money's Worth. Stick around.

Episode Length: 00:33:00Listen to previous Your Money's Worth episodes SUBSCRIBE: Apple Google Play Spotify Overcast RSS Ryan Ermey: Welcome to Your Money's Worth. I'm Kiplinger's associate editor Ryan Ermey, joined as always by senior editor Sandy Block. Sandy, how are you?

Sandy Block: I'm good, Ryan. And I have a question for you. If you suddenly had to leave your house, because of a fire or a chemical spill or something like that, what would be the first things that you would grab on your way out?

Ryan Ermey: Probably my two porcelain cheetahs and my framed poster of Allen Iverson.

Sandy Block: I think you were going to say -- too big, too bi

Sep 21, 2020

FAQs on CARES Act Relief for Student Loan Borrowers
Student debt has always been challenging to pay down. In fact, one in five adult borrowers who funded their own education were behind on their payments in 2018. Pair this with one of the most challenging economic environments we've seen in decades — soaring unemployment, limited options for career advancement and a volatile stock market — and paying off student loans feels more challenging, or even impossible for some.

In my practice, many of our clients are in fields like education that require advanced degrees and are often saddled with debt as a result. We aim to help them come up with comprehensive financial plans that help them pay down debt, while still saving and planning for the future. But in times of crisis, like this one, it's especially important that borrowers understand their options for immediate help and relief — without losing sight of the big picture.

SEE MORE 9 Key Practices to Make College Pay Off The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has offered some relief for student loan borrowers with public loans. But the nuances can be confusing, leaving many wondering how much of their debt can be relieved, and how. And many of our clients are also left with questions about what the changes mean for them and how to best proceed with finding a path to a fulfilling financial future, despite these roadblocks.

The facts The good news: If you have public student loans, the CARES Act provides some relief. All Federal Direct Loan borrowers are automatically enrolled into administrative forbearance and have zero percent interest from March 13 to Sept. 30, 2020. Any past due balances will be become current.

Sep 21, 2020

Stock Market Today: Bulls Retreat in Face of Growing Political, Health Risks
A host of new concerns dragged the major indices lower to start the week and put the S&P 500 closer to an official correction after weeks of declines.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away late Friday, throwing even more turmoil into 2020's political landscape as elected officials and Americans argue over the process of nominating an RBG replacement who might drastically shift the balance of the Supreme Court.

SEE MORE Hedge Funds' 25 Top Blue-Chip Stocks to Buy Now And across the pond, several European nations are considering new restrictions to fight off what appears to be a second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, spurring concerns about a similar fate in the U.S.

The S&P 500 dropped 1.2% to 3,281, putting it less than 2% away from correction territory (a decline of 10% or more from a peak) and putting it in danger of absorbing its worst September performance since sliding 11% in 2002.

While most of the major indices finished well off their lows, the Nasdaq Composite rebounded sharply and finished with a much more modest 0.1% decline to 10,778. Apple (AAPL, 3.0%) and Microsoft (MSFT, 1.1%) both finished well in the black.

"Investors should take a binary approach to the market at this point," says Marc Chaikin, founder of Chaikin Analytics, a quantitative investment research firm, based in Philadelphia. "Remain bullish but raise some cash as technology stocks bounce in the near-term. Look for opportunities to redeploy that cash as this short-term pullback plays out over the next 2-4 weeks."

"Buying the d

Sep 21, 2020

11 Dividend-Paying Stocks You Should Think Twice About
Income investors have been forced to become far more selective about the dividend-paying stocks they stash in their portfolios.

More than 60 S&P 500 firms have cut or suspended their dividends in 2020. In some cases, the companies involved have been trying to maintain their financial flexibility in the midst of a pandemic-sparked recession, while others have simply had no choice but to cut all but the most vital of cash expenditures.

While the market has come roaring back from the depths that prompted those dividend-paying stocks to cut back, we're not out of the woods yet. A number of dividend stocks still look like potential payout-cut risks, while others simply look unattractive given lackluster recovery prospects.

The DIVCON system from exchange-traded fund provider Reality Shares can help investors weed out some of these riskier dividend payers. This system 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 11 dividend-paying stocks that you should avoid at the moment. Each of these stocks has a DIVCON rating of either 2 or 1, awarded based on various metric readings that point to dividend and other difficulties in the months ahead. Long-term investors are better off focusing their efforts (and money) on dividend investments with more stability and b

Sep 21, 2020

Being a Woman Cost Me $2 Million, But Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stood Up for Me
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the personification of women's and people's rights to have a seat at the table. She taught the court that, "A gender line … helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage."

She was an inspiration to me and so many others.  I wore my RGB socks proudly, heard her speak live, saw her on a plane and went running up to her and she was way too gracious, and even had a bracelet made that I wear with a charm that reads LIVE ORGAN DONOR FOR RBG. 

SEE MORE 4 Ways Women Can Win with the SECURE Act RBG changed so many rights for men and women.  One really hit home for me: a woman's right to get credit.  I applied for my first credit card in the 1970s.  I was a bank executive, yet I was not entitled to get credit on my own name. Instead, the card was issued in my husband's name (which was not the same as mine), and I was told to carry a permission letter from him allowing me to use the card.  RBG fought and won to change all of that. Again, "Thank you, RBG."

With her recent death, let's take a moment to think about how far we have come.

The Gender Wage Gap: My Own Story RBG fought for ending to the difference in earnings between men and women. Women consistently earn less than men, and the gap is wider for women of color.

If you look at the most recent Census Bureau data from 2018, women earned, on average, 82 cents for every $1 earned by men. Let's talk about reality: The National Committee on Pay Equity estimates that "over a working lifetime, this wage disparity costs the average Amer

Sep 21, 2020

The Annuity With a Tax-Planning Twist
Retirees sometimes feel like they're being squeezed by two opposing goals. On the one hand, they should conserve their nest egg to prepare for longer life expectancies and the rising cost of long-term care. On the other, the IRS requires retirees to start drawing down their savings with required minimum distributions at age 72.

SEE MORE QLACs Can Deliver Late-in-Life Income A qualified life annuity contract satisfies both goals. QLACs are a type of deferred income annuity. You transfer a portion of your savings from a retirement account, like an IRA or a 401(k), to an annuity company to purchase your contract. As of 2020, you can invest the lesser of $135,000 or 25% of your retirement account balance in a QLAC. The annuity company turns your deposit into payments, which you can delay taking until as late as age 85. Once you start receiving annuity income, the payments are guaranteed to last your entire life.

Steven Kaye, managing director at Wealth Enhancement Group in Warren, N.J., describes QLACs as a form of longevity insurance. "If life expectancy at retirement is 85, that means half of retirees will live longer than age 85," Kaye says. "By converting a portion of their savings into a QLAC, they create a stream of future income that they cannot outlive." 

Although QLACs have been on the scene since 2014, they are hardly a household name, but legislation in 2019 and a rising tide of baby boomers entering their 70s could launch these contracts out of obscurity and into the retirement planning spotlight.

An RMD-Minimizing Benefit Besides generating lifetime income, QLACs can also help reduce required minimum distributions. When y

Sep 21, 2020

HSA Limits and Minimums
For many people, health savings accounts (HSAs) offer a tax-friendly way to pay medical bills. You can deduct your contributions to an HSA (even if you don't itemize), contributions made by your employer are excluded from gross income, earnings are tax free, and distributions aren't taxed if you use them to pay qualified medical expenses. Plus, you can hold on to the account past your working years and use it tax-free for medical expenses in retirement. All-in-all, HSAs can be a great tool for covering your health care costs.

SEE MORE Health Savings Accounts Get Even Better There are, however, a few HSA limitations and requirements that are adjusted for inflation each year. They apply to the amount you can contribute to an HSA for the year, the minimum deductible for your health insurance plan, and your annual out-of-pocket expenses. If you or your health plan are not in compliance with the restrictions in place for any particular year, then you can say goodbye to the HSA tax savings for that year.

HSA Contribution Limits Your contributions to an HSA are limited each year. You can contribute up to $3,600 in 2021 if you have self-only coverage or up to $7,200 for family coverage. If you're 55 or older at the end of the year, you can put in an extra $1,000 in "catch up" contributions. However, your contribution limit is reduced by the amount of any contributions made by your employer that are excludable from your income, including amounts contributed to your HSA account through a cafeteria plan.

SEE MORE Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year The 2021 HSA contribution limits are higher than the 2020 amounts. For self-only coverage, you

Sep 21, 2020

10 Reasons to Own Life Insurance in Every Decade of Your Life
There has always been value in protecting your loved ones, perhaps even more now as the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to devastate households and put the question of mortality front and center. While life insurance can be an unsettling topic, and it's not exactly stimulating dinner conversation, it can be a vital stepping-stone to financial health.

In fact, life insurance plays a role beyond times of uncertainty and is an evergreen financial tool that may benefit your plans at any age. That's because life insurance does more than just provide survivor benefits; it is a dynamic tool that can work throughout your life alongside your savings and investment strategies.

SEE MORE 3 Ways to Claim a Life Insurance Benefit: Which Is Right for You? So, it may be surprising that, despite its importance and increased ease of access, only 59% of Americans have life insurance and about half of those are underinsured, according to LIMRA, a financial services research and consulting organization. In fact, for millennials and Gen Xers, life insurance is usually among the lowest financial priorities, according to LIMRA's 2019 Insurance Barometer Study.

Here's how life insurance benefits you differently in each stage of your life.

1. In your 20s: The foundation for financial success Entering the workforce and preparing for the future can be intimidating when you're just starting out. It's important to remember that a good financial plan should include savings and investment vehicles like an IRA or a 401(k) plan, along with life insurance to protect those savings and ensure debts can be paid. Even if you're single, or don't have any children, there are reasons to consider li

Sep 21, 2020

Don't Be Paralyzed by Uncertainty
Investors are understandably anxious these days about the level of volatility in the market and the impact it may have on their retirement savings.

Unfortunately, their nervousness is keeping many from doing the kind of planning that could help them ride out future storms. Uncertainty has them paralyzed. Or they're tempted to abandon the plan they have, take their money out of the market and keep it in cash to limit their losses.

SEE MORE What's Your ‘Money Type'? Knowing It Could Help You Avoid a Financial Blunder But proceeding without a plan may be the biggest mistake an investor can make in challenging times. Or any time, for that matter. Because what's ahead of us globally, nationally and individually could very well be even scarier than what's behind us. It might be an election, a war or an economic collapse in another country. Or a chronic illness, accident or some other personal issue that no one could predict.

When people don't have a financial plan or aren't sticking to their plan, this is what I tell them:

Many retirement savers aren't as good at this investing thing as they think they are. There's an old saying that definitely applies to financial planning: Smooth seas don't make good sailors. The market was doing so well for so long — with a bull run that lasted more than a decade — and most do-it-yourselfers did fine on their own. But when seas get rough, the ride isn't so pleasant.

Now is not the time to go it alone or try to do it yourself. It helps to have an expert do the navigating. A financial planner can help plot a course that gets you to and through retirement, even when times are tough.

Having a collection of investments is not the same as having a plan. A lot of people — even some who are working with a financial professional —

Sep 18, 2020

Stock Market Today: Wild Friday Features More Woes for Tech
Friday was expected to be an active day for stocks, and, on that front, it didn't disappoint.

Today was a "quadruple witching" day, in which index futures, index options, stock options and individual-stock futures all expire at once, which sometimes leads to heavy volume and erratic moves in parts or all of the market. In this case, the major indices flipped from early gains to deep losses, then recovered somewhat before closing in the red. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.9% lower to 27,657.

SEE MORE 20 Best Stocks to Buy for the New Bull Market Friday continued a brutal stretch for tech. The S&P 500's technology sector, as measured by the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK, -1.7%), has declined 9.5% since the start of September. Apple (AAPL, -3.2%) has declined 17% this month, Amazon.com (AMZN, -1.8%) is off 14.4% and Microsoft (MSFT, -1.2%) is off 9.8%.

Other action in the stock market today:

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.1% to 10,793, putting it down 8.3% for September.The S&P 500 also fell 1.1% to 3,319. The Russell 2000 was the strongest of the major indices, slipping 0.4% to 1,536. Too Rocky for Your Tastes? Build a More Diversified

Sep 18, 2020

The 5 Best iShares ETFs for a Core Portfolio
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have become an investment juggernaut over the past decade, and they're still growing. Bank of America estimated at the end of 2019 that ETF assets would grow 25% to about $5.3 trillion by the end of 2020 … and explode to $50 trillion by 2030.

As more ETFs launch, it has become more difficult for investors to wade through the selection pool to build a fundamentally sound, easy-to-manage portfolio. But a few fund providers have the tools for the job - indeed, several of the best iShares ETFs can be combined to create a basic but comprehensive portfolio.

iShares offers more than 370 ETFs that investors can use to achieve alpha - a return exceeding the major benchmark indices.

However, you have to learn how to walk before you run.

Among those 370-plus products are 25 "Core"-branded ETFs that provide the basic building blocks of an investment portfolio. And you can cobble just a handful of these iShares ETFs together to create an inexpensive, diversified multi-asset set of holdings.

Here are the five best iShares ETFs for a core portfolio. We've created a mini-portfolio of ETFs, each with a 20% weighting, that results in an 80% equity-20% fixed income blend. (You can adjust how much you hold of each to fit your goals.) It's also extremely inexpensive, costing just 0.06% annually on average.

SEE MORE Kip ETF 20: The Best Cheap ETFs You Can Buy Data is as of Sept. 17. Yields represent the trailing 12-month yield, which is a standard measure for equity funds.

Sep 18, 2020

Child Tax Credit Would Go Up Under Biden Proposal
President Trump is hammering away at Joe Biden's proposed tax increases every chance he gets. At his campaign rallies, the president often notes that Biden is going to "impose $4 trillion in tax hikes." But Biden's tax proposals also include a number of middle-class tax cuts. In fact, the Democratic challenger's latest idea is to significantly increase and expand the child tax credit, which is an important tax break for ordinary Americans.

SEE MORE Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans However, Biden's child tax credit plan comes with a few catches: it's only temporary, the biggest increases only apply to certain children, and some people don't qualify for the credit.

Current Child Tax Credit Rules Right now, parents can claim a $2,000 tax credit for each child age 16 or younger. The credit begins to disappear as income rises above $400,000 on joint returns and above $200,000 on single and head-of-household returns—although there's no limit to how many kids you can claim on a return, as long as they qualify.

SEE MORE Election 2020: President Trump's Tax Plans For some lower-income taxpayers, the credit is "refundable" (up to $1,400 per qualifying child), meaning that if it's worth more than your income tax liability, the IRS will issue you a check for the difference.

Biden's Plan Under the Biden plan, the child tax credit would increase to $3,000 per child for kids six to 17 years of age and to $3,600 for children under six. So, not only will the amount go up, the upper age limit for qualifying children would jump from 16 to 17 years of age—

Sep 18, 2020

7 Foreign Countries Luring Americans to Work Abroad During the Pandemic
Tired of working remotely from your kitchen table during these pandemic days? If there are no restrictions on where you can plop down your work laptop, consider a sunny Caribbean island or an idyllic European village as your office for the next year.

Despite COVID-19 still spreading throughout the globe, a growing list of mostly small, tourist-reliant countries are opening their borders to remote workers. These countries have special visas that allow foreigners - including Americans - to live and work remotely for a year or more. Participants must already be employed in their home country or a freelancer, and are prohibited from taking employment in the host country. Health insurance and minimum income levels generally are required, though specifics vary from country to country.

Take a look at seven countries with remote working opportunities:

SEE MORE 7 Ways the Pandemic Will Change Big U.S. Cities

Sep 18, 2020

Now's the Time for Estate Tax Planning
Two factors make this year an opportune time to consider succession and wealth planning. First, the federal estate and gift tax exemption is at a historic high of $11,580,000 in 2020—$23,160,000 for couples if portability is elected on a federal estate tax return. Portability allows a married decedent's unused estate and gift tax exemption to pass to the surviving spouse. The tax rate is 40%.

SEE MORE A Step-by-Step Guide to Being an Estate Executor This exemption amount expires at the end of 2025, but if the Democrats win big in November, odds are good the exemption will fall sooner, perhaps as early as 2021, because Joe Biden has called for lowering it. He hasn't given an exact figure, but we think the exemption could revert to pre-2018 levels of about $5 million ($10 million for couples), with inflation adjustments. 

All-time low IRS interest rates are another reason for succession planning, according to Pamela Lucina, chief fiduciary officer and head of the trust and advisory practice for Northern Trust Wealth Management. The low rates make intra-family loans and certain estate and gift freeze strategies valuable planning tools. She advises high-wealth individuals to start planning now by reviewing their goals and figuring out how much of their wealth they are ready to part with. 

Estate and wealth advisers suggest several strategies—three of which we discuss here—to take advantage of the currently large estate and gift tax exemption as well as the low interest rates. 

Make outright gifts. You can give up to $15,000 to each child, grandchild or any other person in 2020 without having to file a gift tax return, pay gift tax or tap your exemption. The recipient isn't taxed on the amount received either. For ex

Sep 18, 2020

When Businesses Fail or People Can't Pay Bills, Liability Limits Can Save the Day
Most people would agree that a person who borrows money, contracts for the manufacturing or delivery of goods and services, or enters into agreements that require or encourage substantial investment by other parties should not be allowed to fail to meet those obligations without consequence. Regardless of the cause of these breaches of contract or the good faith of the perpetrator, the losses they cause necessitate recovery efforts by lenders, suppliers, contractors and distributors, often at great monetary and opportunity cost.

SEE MORE Most Americans Think They Know More about Money Than They Do Our economy is fed and supported by people making such "promises" and other people acting in reliance on them. Keeping those promises is essential to a community's economic health and its members' financial well-being, so any breach supports an actionable cause for recovery. On the other hand, protecting people from destitution for business and financial risk-taking is necessary to encourage and sustain economic growth, so even such a perpetrator should have reasonable protection from financial destruction — especially this year, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.

Laws Limit Losses to Help Spread the Cost of Business Risk So, when a business or personal financial risk is undertaken in good faith but fails by some breach or unrelated cause, the law seeks to avoid an inequitable outcome that imprudently favors the lender, the investor, the supplier or the manufacturer over the borrower, the operator, the buyer or the retailer — and vice versa. The law in most states also allows people to isolate unrelated investments, retirement savings, personal homes and other assets from the reach of such creditors to protect them from financial ruin.

These protections — along with state a

Sep 17, 2020

Stock Market Today: Stocks Can't Shake Fed Hangover
Wall Street's weakness at the end of Wednesday's session extended into Thursday as investors continued to digest the Federal Reserve's dour commentary. More discouraging economic data delivered fresh on Thursday morning didn't help.

The Labor Department said initial unemployment claims for last week came in at 860,000 - a lower total than most estimates but a still-sluggish number that prompted Allianz chief economic advisor Mohamed El-Erian to call the recovery pace "below what's both needed and possible." Backing that up was a Philadelphia-region manufacturing reading that dropped from 17.2 in August to 15.0 in September, indicating slower expansion.

SEE MORE Best Bond Funds for Every Need And then there's the Fed, which signaled it would keep its benchmark interest rate low for years, but also urged Washington to provide fiscal assistance to back the economy.

"The Fed is out of tools and stock investors are finally realizing this," says Greg Swenson, founding partner of London-based investment bank Brigg Macadam. "With rates this low and quantitative easing ramped up, there is little the Fed can do to help the economy rebound or limit the fallout from any unexpected economic weakness in the near-term."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.5% to 27,901, snapping a four-day winning streak.

Other action in the stock market today:

The Nasdaq Composite lost 1.3% to 10,910.The S&P 500 declined 0.8% to 3,357. The Russell 2000 slipped 0.7% to 1,541. Snowflake (SNOW), the cloud firm that pulled off a sensational IPO yesterday that more than doubled from its listing price, declined 10

Sep 17, 2020

Oregon Wildfire Victims Get More Time to Pay Taxes
Victims of the Oregon wildfires and straight-line winds that began September 7 now have until January 15, 2021, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments

The tax relief is available to anyone in any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for individual assistance. Currently this includes Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion counties However, taxpayers in places added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief.

SEE MORE Tax Relief for Hurricane, Wildfire, Flood and Other Natural Disaster Victims The IRS will also work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose tax records are in the disaster area. Call the IRS at 866-562-5227 if you face this situation.

Deadlines Extended The deadlines that are pushed back include the October 15, 2020, due date for filing a 2019 income tax return that was extended (the original due date was July 15, 2020). However, because 2019 income tax payments were due on July 15, those payments are not eligible for this relief.

Oregon wildfire victims will also have until January 15 to make quarterly estimated tax payments due on September 15, 2020.

SEE MORE How to Get Property Insura

Sep 17, 2020

Insurance for Long-Term Care at Home
Scenes of anxious adult children peering through windows and holding up signs declaring "I love you" to their parents confined in nursing homes and assisted living facilities during the coronavirus pandemic reinforced a trend that has already been growing in the United States: the desire to remain at home for as long as possible in old age.

SEE MORE Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know "We're getting more calls," says Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a trade group. "The initial reports in all of the news on COVID-19 focused on nursing homes and the number of people infected and dying in those homes." 

That made people realize they wanted better options, like aging in place, he says. While there are no guarantees that anyone can live their last days in their own home, there are some ways to make it more likely from a financial standpoint. 

Historically, when long-term care insurance first became widely available in the late 1970s, it was primarily used to help pay the costs of nursing homes. That has changed, and almost all such policies cover home care today. Of all claims that began in 2018, 51% were for home care, with the rest divided about equally between assisted care facilities and nursing homes, according to statistics from the American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance.

Perhaps even more interesting, according to the association, is that home care continued to account for the largest share—43%—of all long-term care claims that ended in 2018, with most (72%) terminating due to death, 13% because the customer exhausted all benefits and 14% due to recovery.

Unlike the past

Sep 17, 2020

Hedge Funds' 25 Top Blue-Chip Stocks to Buy Now
A good, old-fashioned investor panic that punished even solid blue-chip stocks led investors to pull money out of hedge funds like crazy earlier this year. But now it appears that the good times are rolling again.

The benchmark Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index is sporting a five-month trailing return of almost 13% since March. That includes a 1.9% improvement in August. It's little wonder, then, that net inflows to hedge funds increased by nearly $18 billion last month.

If hedge funds are bullish on a recovery in both the economy and equity markets, it's not a bad idea to see how the so-called smart money is positioning itself for those bets. To get an idea of what hedge funds are holding these days, we turned to WhaleWisdom, where we were able to determine hedge funds' favorite names based on the number of funds holding a position in any given stock. 

Big, blue-chip stocks are unsurprisingly over-represented on the list. Indeed, of the 25 most popular hedge fund stocks, 10 are components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Partly that's a function of their massive market capitalizations and attendant liquidity, which creates ample room for big institutional investors to build or sell large positions.

In plenty of other cases, however, hedge funds are betting on some of today's hottest growth stocks. 

Have a look at hedge funds' 25 favorite blue-chip stocks to buy now. All these names likely appeal to the smart money because of their size, strong track records or outsized growth prospects, but we'll delve into a few specifics that make each pick special.

SEE MORE 20 Best Stocks to Buy for the New Bull Market Data is as of Sept. 16, unless otherwise noted. Companies are listed in reverse order of popularity with hedge funds, according to WhaleWisdom. Dividend yields are calculated by annu

Sep 17, 2020

Stimulus Check Update: 9 Million Americans Could Still Claim a Payment
The IRS will soon start mailing letters to roughly 9 million people who typically don't file federal income tax returns who may be eligible for, but have not registered to claim, a stimulus check from the government. The letters will urge recipients to register online by October 15 in order to receive their payment before the end of the year. You can receive up to $1,200 ($2,400 for married couples), plus an extra $500 for each child under age 17 at the end of 2019.

SEE MORE Will There Be a Second Stimulus Check? The letters are being sent to people who haven't filed a tax return for either 2018 or 2019. In many cases, that means people with incomes that aren't high enough to trigger the tax return filing requirement. In other words, single people with income below $12,200 and married couples with income under $24,400. This includes people who are homeless. Nevertheless, many people in this income group are still eligible to receive a stimulus check.

The IRS letter is written in English and Spanish and includes information on eligibility criteria and how you can claim a payment on IRS.gov. The mailing will begin around September 24, and the letter will be delivered from an IRS address. To help address fraud concern, the IRS released a copy of the letter in advance (click here to see the letter).

If you don't act by October 15, you can still get your money if you're eligible for a check - but you'll have to wait until next year and claim it as a tax credit on your 2020 income

Sep 17, 2020

5 Unfortunate Estate Planning Myths You Probably Believe
Estate planning should be a fairly straightforward exercise in taking stock of what has been accumulated and making sensible determinations as to how best to leave a lifetime's legacy in good hands.

We all know the reality is often different, and it is easy to understand why — misconceptions, often based on emotions, arise and get in the way. These emotions — whether they be the pressure of time or the perceived need to be fair and equitable — are what cloud rational decision-making just when it is most needed.  

In my practice, I have found that reactive decisions seldom work as well as decisions based on strategies set in place over time.  Below I address these and some of the other most common misconceptions that get in the way when setting up an estate plan or making alterations when life changes occur.

SEE MORE Checklist: Steps to Take after Your Spouse Dies

Sep 16, 2020

Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know
Heading into retirement brings a slew of new topics to grapple with, and one of the most maddening may be Medicare. Figuring out when to enroll in Medicare and which parts to enroll in can be daunting even for the savviest retirees. There's Part A, Part B, Part D, medigap plans, Medicare Advantage plans and so on. And what the heck is a doughnut hole, anyway? To help you wade into the waters of this complicated federal health insurance program for retirement-age Americans, here are 11 essential things you must know about Medicare.

Sep 16, 2020

Stock Market Today: Fed Frazzles Stocks, But Buffett Scores Big
Wall Street saw an uneven day of trading Wednesday despite the announcement of continued accommodative policy from the Federal Reserve.

The Fed indicated that it was unlikely to raise rates above current near-zero levels until at least the end of 2023, which investors initially cheered. It also effectively set two conditions - "maximum employment" as well that has inflation that "has risen to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time" - that could lead to difficult compromises down the road.

SEE MORE 15 Dividend Aristocrats You Can Buy at a Discount "In the period ahead, the Fed will face two choices," says Rick Rieder, BlackRock's chief investment officer of global fixed income. "It could either: 1) keep monetary policy easy for years in hopes of hitting its elusive 2% inflation target, while risking a bubble in financial conditions as equities outpace the economy and depressed bond yields feed overzealous risk-taking, or 2) it can seek to normalize policy alongside of eventual labor market healing.

"We think that once growth and employment momentum show enough progress, tying policy to an inflation goal that may never be sustainably reached could result in unnecessary stimulus policies that last for far too long."

But Fed Chair Jerome Powell also painted a picture of a damaged economy that still needs help from Washington. "Fiscal policy response had a really positive effect but more is likely to be needed," he said, adding that "11 million unemployed Americans may need more support."

"The Fed must thread a narrative needle," says Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO and chief strategist of research firm Quill Intelligence. "Powell has the obligation to talk up the economy and its amazing recovery while he implicitly pleads Congress to pass a massive stimulus bill t

Sep 16, 2020

Buffett Makes Rare Bet on Blockbuster Snowflake IPO
Cloud infrastructure unicorn Snowflake (SNOW) just executed a blockbuster initial public offering (IPO), and one of the beneficiaries is an unlikely investor.

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), has never been a fan of IPOs. He's said so, on the record, and has notably turned up his nose at some of the most heavily hyped stock market debuts.

SEE MORE 18 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Selling (And 6 He's Buying) Furthermore, despite Apple (AAPL) being Berkshire Hathaway's single largest holding, Buffett has never really been all-in on technology stocks.

Yet he finds himself with a piece of the Snowflake IPO, which is the biggest software offering in history.

About the Snowflake IPO Snowflake is a cloud-data warehousing company that plays in a roughly $55 billion annual market - a market that's expanding. The firm boasts 3,100 customers, 56 of which were each responsible for generating around $1 million in revenues within a 12-month period.

Snowflake is generating a lot of hype because it offers a way for companies to run their software on various cloud platforms, be they provided by Amazon.com (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) or Google parent Alphabet (

Sep 16, 2020

Qualified Dividends vs. Ordinary Dividends
At some point in almost every investor's life, they'll be alerted to the fact that they're collecting "qualified dividends." That inevitably prompts the natural question:

What are qualified dividends?

SEE MORE 65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On in 2020 Ultimately, the importance of this distinction has to do with how you're taxed on your dividends. The tax rate on qualified dividends is 15% for most taxpayers. (It's zero for single taxpayers with incomes under $40,000 and 20% for single taxpayers with incomes over $441,451.) However, "ordinary dividends" (or "nonqualified dividends") are taxed at your normal marginal tax rate.

But on a more fundamental level: What exactly is a qualified dividend, and how do we know if the dividends paid by the stocks in our portfolios are qualified? And what investments pay out nonqualified dividends?

Let's start by examining how qualified dividends were created in the first place. Then we'll explain how that affects the rules governing them and ordinary dividends today.

How Qualified Dividends Came To Be The concept of qualified dividends began with the 2003 tax cuts signed into law by George W. Bush. Previously, all dividends were taxed at the taxpayer's normal marginal rate.

The lower qualified rate was designed to fix one of the great unintended consequences of the U.S. tax code. By taxing dividends at a higher rate, the IRS was incentivizing companies not to pay them. Instead, it incentivized them to do stock buybacks (which were untaxed) or simply hoard the cash.

By creating the lower qualified dividend tax rate that was equal to the long-term capital gains tax rate, the tax code instead incentivized companies to reward their long-term shareholders with higher dividends. It also incentivized inve

Sep 15, 2020

10 Things You'll Spend Less on in Retirement
A popular rule of thumb suggests that retirees need 80% of their preretirement income to make ends meet, and some experts encourage saving even more to avoid running out of money. In the face of such daunting goals, 53% of preretirees say they plan on working past age 65 to ensure that they have enough money, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

But the 80% rule isn't for everybody, and it may lead to inflated savings goals that cause undue anxiety as you plan for retirement. Consumer spending decreases significantly as you age. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average retired household spends 25% less than the average working household.

In order to know how much you need to save for retirement, it's important to know what your spending will look like once you actually retire. Consider these 10 budget line items on which you'll likely spend less in retirement.

SEE MORE 10 Things You'll Spend More on in Retirement

Sep 15, 2020

10 Things You'll Spend More on in Retirement
Think of all of this remote work and not-going-anywhere-except-on-Zoom-calls business as a prequel to retirement: You're home a lot, and (except for the actual work thing) behaving much like you would in retirement.

So, how's the spending coming on your test drive? 

Before you can determine how much you need to save for a fulfilling retirement (and you should), you first need to know how much you will spend in retirement.

Financial planners have traditionally estimated that retirees need 80% or more of preretirement income to maintain their standard of living, though individual situations vary greatly. Another data point: According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics' annual survey on consumer spending, the average retired household spends 25% less than the average working household each year.

That said, retired households do spend more than working households on many items, including big-ticket expenses such as health care and travel. Here's a look at 10 budget categories where retirees are likely to spend more.

SEE MORE 10 Things You'll Spend Less on in Retirement

Sep 15, 2020

How to Get Property Insurance in High-Risk Areas
This story is being written as wildfires ravage parts of the West — my state, California, in particular — and hurricanes leave Southeastern cities resembling war zones.  My column has received dozens of emails and phone calls from readers in these areas, all facing the same nightmare:

SEE MORE The Insurance Company Denied My Claim. What Should I Do? "We have homeowners insurance for our home and commercial property insurance for my business, but my agent has just told me that I will either be forced to pay an astronomically high rate to keep the insurance, or the company will just refuse to renew the policies, as I am in a high-risk area.

"No doubt we will face similar environmental threats in the future, so is there any way of obtaining insurance without going broke?"

Calls from Worried Policyholders in High-Risk Areas Los Angeles-based insurance broker Karl Susman is receiving dozens of calls daily from his clients who live in high-risk areas and who have also been advised of the possibility of losing their property insurance. In addition to running his own brokerage, he also testifies as an expert witness in cases involving insurance coverage and agent malpractice.

What is a High-Risk Property? "Unfortunately, there is no one defining characteristic for a high-risk property," Susman says. "Every carrier has its own definition and guidelines to follow.  What one might declare unacceptable due to fire exposure, another will write a policy. Just because your next-door neighbor has a policy with a specific insurance company, this does not mean they will insure your property.

"A common example making one home acceptable and a neighbor's unacceptable would be the type of roof.  Or, you might have identical homes on opposite sides of the street, but one of the

Sep 15, 2020

Stock Market Today: Nasdaq, Tech Stocks Continue to Regain Their Poise
Technology and tech-related stocks resumed their leadership role on Tuesday amid a relatively calm, news-light Tuesday.

The New York Federal Reserve's Empire State Manufacturing Index jumped to a reading of 17 for September, versus expectations of just 6. (Any reading in positive territory indicates growth). And a Chinese health official said vaccines being developed there might be ready for general distribution as early as November.

SEE MORE 50 Top Stock Picks That Billionaires Love The highest-profile gains could be found in the tech and communications sectors, with blue chips such as Facebook (FB, 2.4%), Qualcomm (QCOM, 2.8%) and Netflix (NFLX, 4.1%) all posting solid advances. That helped the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rally yet again, up 1.2% to 11,190.

Other action in the stock market today:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed most of its early gains, eking out a mere 2 points of progress to finish at 27,995.The S&P 500 gained 0.5% to 3,401. The Russell 2000 climbed just 1 point to 1,538. An Uneven Market Tuesday featured a few other trends worth paying attention to.

"Tech stocks continue to rebound, after last week's decline, but it's interesting to see strength in the

Sep 15, 2020

When Elder Care Requires Legal Advice
Laura French, an elder care attorney in Georgia, sees it all the time. A family is in denial about a parent or another older relative's deteriorating physical or mental health until there's a crisis, and "all of a sudden everyone realizes ‘we can't do this alone.'"

SEE MORE Sandwich Generation Faces Caregiving Challenges That's often when the panicked call to an elder law attorney is made. Although these attorneys specialize in planning for the thorny legal complications that can arise in old age, few people think to consult one preemptively to avoid making that panicked phone call in the first place. To understand what these lawyers do and why you might need one, we sought answers to these four questions.

Whose Interests Does An Elder Care Lawyer Represent? In all cases, elder care lawyers say, they are working in the best interest of the older person, though how that is accomplished may differ.

If the older person is competent and calls the lawyer, then there's no issue. But if an adult child or other family member or friend is an agent—that is, has power of attorney for an elderly person—and asks for help, the lawyer is representing the agent. Nonetheless, anyone who has power of attorney has a fiduciary responsibility to do what is best for the person he or she is responsible for, says French, who founded the French Law Group in Watkinsville, Ga., and is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Georgia. The lawyer also would verify that the elderly person is incapable of decision-making through a doctor's certification or perhaps by directly meeting with the person.

On the flip side, sometimes children come in with a parent they believe is competent but that French discovers is not. Then she will ask the children to follow up

Sep 15, 2020

7 Best 5G Stocks for the Communication Revolution
Telecommunications' long-awaited switch to 5G technology is well underway, prompting many investors to search for the best 5G stocks to leverage this trend.

While it will be a growth category, set your expectations accordingly - just like actual users of the technology should early on.

Washington Post technology columnist Geoffrey Fowler recently speed-tested 5G phones against old, clunky 4G phones. What it found was that the new phones weren't much faster than the new ones. Worse still, in some locations, 5G was slower.

"RootMetrics, a network-analysis firm owned by IHS Markit, said that in the first half of the year, median AT&T 5G speeds were 46 Mbps, only slightly faster than the 4G LTE speed of 43 Mbps," he writes. "At T-Mobile, speeds increased more as a percentage, but its median 5G speed of 25 Mbps still can't even compete with its rivals' 4G LTE speeds.

That's not what you want to hear when you're talking up a 5G revolution. Not in the slightest. But that reality is expected to change over the next few years as the technology progresses.

For investors looking to bet on some of the winning 5G stocks, that means you might not enjoy rip-roaring gains right out of the gate. But that's OK - it's a marathon, not a sprint, after all. Patient investors in the right picks, however, should be rewarded handsomely over time.

Here are seven of the best 5G stocks to buy. All of them should eventually benefit from the shift to 5G, not just in the U.S., but worldwide.

SEE MORE 20 Best Stocks to Buy for the New Bull Market Data as of Sept. 14. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent payout and dividing by the share price.

Sep 15, 2020

Retirees, Create An Emergency Fund for Rental Property
Smart landlords know stuff happens—a tenant fails to pay the rent or the furnace fails—and suddenly the money spigot stops flowing. For retirees who rely on rental properties to generate a steady income, it's a double hit to their wallets. Not only are they minus an income but they're also still on the hook for all the expenses to maintain the property.

SEE MORE I'm a Landlord: Can I Ever Truly Retire? That's why every landlord needs an emergency fund.The economic fallout from COVID-19 drives home the point: As tenants lost their jobs, many couldn't pay the rent. Some landlords forgave the debt. Others offered to modify leases so tenants could repay over time. 

Federal, state or local moratoriums temporarily prohibited evictions for tenants in arrears. Before it expired in July, the federal moratorium applied to properties with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae, or to tenants who paid with housing vouchers. Some state and local moratoriums, which apply to rental properties owned outright or purchased with private money, ended earlier or were extended. 

Congress has been at a stalemate over a new stimulus package. If the Democrats have their way, extending eviction protections for renters will make it into the legislation. Although Republicans have little appetite for another eviction moratorium, both parties support paying money directly to landlords to make them whole and protect tenants from running up huge debt, according to Tyler Craddock, governmental affairs director of the National Association of Residential Property Managers.  

Whatever Congress decides, estate investors and property managers all agree—an emergency fund is essential. But they disagre

Sep 15, 2020

How to Finance Home Schooling Your Children
Ryan Ermey: If the pandemic has you weighing the costs and benefits of homeschooling your children you're not alone. It's a complicated and personal decision though. And Kiplinger.com online editor Andrea Browne Taylor is here to help you weigh the pros and cons in our main segment.

Episode Length: 00:36:19Listen to previous Your Money's Worth episodes SUBSCRIBE: Apple Google Play Spotify Overcast RSS Ryan Ermey: On today's show, Sandy and I discuss what to do with a 401(k) if you're leaving your job, and we also get into a new batch of our wackiest PR pitches. That's all ahead on this episode of Your Money's Worth. Stick around.

Ryan Ermey: Welcome to Your Money's Worth. I'm Kiplinger's associate editor Ryan Ermey joined as always by senior editor Sandy Block. Sandy, how are you?

Sandy Block: Good, Ryan.

Ryan Ermey: And today, we are going to be -- in our main segment, anyway -- talking to Andrea Browne Taylor, because it's become obviously much more in the front of people's minds, the possibility of homeschooling their children,

Sep 15, 2020

3 Tips to Help You Navigate Open Enrollment in Your ‘New Normal'
Like many Americans, you've probably seen your finances impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe you were one of the 40 million-plus people who found themselves or a partner unemployed or furloughed. Perhaps you couldn't work because you were sick or taking care of a loved one or no longer had access to child care. Or maybe you were among the many Americans who were able to start working from home — and have saved money by not commuting, going out to lunch or paying dry-cleaning bills.

As you look ahead to your employer's fall open enrollment season, your process for selecting benefits should reflect your "new normal" circumstances. After all, many aspects of your life may have changed, including household income or expenses, medical needs, child care and elder care arrangements or mental health needs. And any member of your household who lost their job may no longer have access to workplace benefits and will be more dependent on you.

Here are three tips to consider:

1. Don't let unexpected medical costs derail your financial well-being Millions of Americans were directly impacted by a COVID-19 diagnosis, and millions more deferred basic medical care while sheltering at home. This may lead to higher-than-average medical costs in 2021, which means it will be important to select medical and dental insurance suited to your new circumstances. You may want to add coverage for a spouse, partner or child under the age of 26 if they are no longer employed, and enroll in a tax-advantaged health savings account or flexible spending account to save for out-of-pocket medical expenses. If eligible, consider HSAs over FSAs because they offer better tax benefits and can be rolled over for future years' expenses.

If you anticipate higher out-of-pocket expenses due to higher insurance deductibles, consider reducing coverage gaps with critical illness, accident and hospital indemnity insurance. Also consider cost-effective new telemedicine offe

Sep 15, 2020

Best Bond Funds for Every Need
A property diversified bond portfolio has a range of holdings, as no single type of bond (or bond fund) can do it all.

We've identified 15 bond funds in four key categories:

Counterbalancing: Holding steady when stocks fall.Generating income: Not easy in today's rate environment, but still a key role. Preserving capital: Preventing losses on money you'll need soon. Inflation hedging: No, there's little inflation now, but consider this as insurance. Pick from them to build a portfolio that meets your needs, which can vary based on your age or time horizon. For example, if you're younger, with most of your money in stocks, you'll want to emphasize stock diversification. If you're older and have already rebalanced to holding mostly fixed-income assets, you might want to have more of those bonds skewed toward returns. retirement. (See How to Create Income for Life for more about keeping the money coming in.)

SEE MORE 10 Things You Should Know About Bonds

Sep 15, 2020

Estimated Tax Payments Are Due Today
Our income tax system operates on a "pay-as-you-go" basis, which means the IRS wants its cut of your income when you earn it. For employees, the government gets paid through tax withholding each time you get a paycheck. Retirees can have taxes withheld from Social Security payments and retirement plan distributions, too. However, if you're self-employed or don't have taxes withheld from other sources of taxable income (such as interest, dividends, or capital gains), it's up to you to periodically pay the IRS by making estimated tax payments.

Estimated taxes are paid in four equal installments — one installment for each quarter of the year. For the third quarter of 2020 (i.e., for income earned from June 1 to August 31), your estimated tax payment is due today (September 15, 2020).

SEE MORE What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019? Use Form 1040-ES to calculate and pay your estimated taxes. The various payment methods are described in the instructions for the form. If you owe at least $1,000 in tax for the year, you could be hit with a penalty if you don't pay enough estimated tax throughout the year.

Also, unless you live in a state with no income tax, you might owe state estimated taxes, too. Check with the state tax agency where you live for state estimate tax payment due dates.


Sep 15, 2020

Tax Tip: How to Deduct Property Damage Caused by Hurricane Sally
If you live in Hurricane Sally's wake, your family's personal safety is your number one concern during the storm. But once the hurricane has passed, your primary concern might be dealing with property damage from high winds or flooding. If that's the case, the tax law can offer some help.

SEE MORE Tax Relief for Hurricane, Wildfire, Flood and Other Natural Disaster Victims Personal casualty losses of individuals are deductible to the extent that they are attributable to a federally declared disaster area. This encompasses areas devastated by hurricanes, earthquakes, major flooding, blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires and other events.

If your house, car or belongings are damaged or destroyed as a result of a federally declared disaster, you may qualify for a tax break to offset losses that aren't covered by insurance when you file a claim.

Generally, only taxpayers who itemize deductions can take a tax write-off for damage to personal property. And there are two important offsets that apply. First, you must reduce the amount of the loss by $100. Then, you can deduct the balance only to the extent that it exceeds 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Let's say your AGI is $100,000 and you have $30,000 in unreimbursed losses from damage to your house caused by Sally. You first subtract $100 from the loss. Then you subtract $10,000 (10% of your AGI) from the $29,900 balance. The remaining $19,900 is the amount you can deduct on Schedule A of Form 1040. (More liberal rules apply for taking the deduction for 2018 and 2019 federally declared disasters.)

SEE MORE 10 Things to Know About

Sep 14, 2020

Prenups for Breadwinning Women: 4 Pitfalls to Avoid
Breadwinning women are creating a new fairytale, casting aside the anti-feminist stories of Cinderella and Snow White, and re-creating their own version of Prince Charming. He is her equal in all ways, except that she typically has more assets, including bank balances, brokerage accounts, 401(k) savings, stock options and real estate. If she is an entrepreneur, she has harder-to-value and often lucrative assets, such as a business, intellectual property and recently signed or soon-to-be-executed contracts. 

As the number of women out-earning their partners has increased to include more than a quarter of all marriages, more and more couples are insisting on drafting prenuptial agreements before the big wedding day. According to a survey a few years ago of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), 63% of divorce attorneys say they have experienced an increase in requests for prenups. With more women in the workforce, 45% of attorneys saw an uptick in the number of women responsible for alimony payments, which has led to an increase in women initiating drafting a prenup in recent years.

SEE MORE Should You Move Forward with Your Divorce or Wait? That makes sense, considering what's at stake. Mitchell Y. Cohen, Esq., one of the founding partners at Johnson & Cohen, LLP, shares, "There is no doubt that we are seeing a greater number of situations where the woman is either on an equal financial footing with the man or, in fact, is the primary breadwinner and has accumulated  significant assets. These consist of real estate holdings, investments accounts, stock options and grants through employment as well

Sep 14, 2020

Stock Market Today: Big Deal! Big Deal! Stocks Solidly in the Black on 'M&A Monday'
A roaring day of M&A and other tie-ups helped inject some life into the stock market Monday, as did renewed hopes for a successful vaccine before the end of 2020.

Chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA, 5.8%) announced late Sunday that it would buy mobile chip maker Arm Holdings from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank (SFTBY, 7.9%) for $40 billion in cash and stock.

SEE MORE 25 Small Towns With Big Millionaire Populations "We like the deal for NVDA given Arm's licensing model, which provides high visibility, as well as ecosystem across the mobile space," writes CFRA analyst Angelo Zino, who maintained his Buy rating on Nvidia shares. "NVDA expects the deal to be immediately accretive to EPS and support margin expansion."

While Microsoft (MSFT, 0.7%) revealed Sunday that its bid for the U.S. operations of controversial Chinese social media platform TikTok was rejected by parent firm ByteDance, but Oracle (ORCL, 4.3%) confirmed Monday that it would become a "trusted technology partner" for the app. The deal, which is not an outright sale, still must pass muster with the White House.

And biotech Gilead Sciences (GILD, 2.2%) announced Sunday

Sep 14, 2020

10 of the Best Target-Date Fund Families
Target-date funds are a core component of many investors' retirement strategies. And for good reason: These funds provide a one-stop shop for retirement investors.

Every target-date fund adjusts its asset allocation from more aggressive and growth-oriented holdings in the early savings years to more conservative capital-preservation strategies as investors near and enter retirement. All investors need to do is choose the fund that most closely aligns with their target retirement date, and the portfolio managers will take care of the rest.

However, choosing is easier said than done.

Target-date funds vary in their cost, structure and methodology. While one 2050 target-date fund may use 90% stocks, another could hold only 60% stocks. These differences can result in widely different investment experiences for participants.

In general, when evaluating target-date funds, keep the following in mind:

Cost: All target-date funds require some degree of active management, as someone has to make the rebalancing decisions for you. But costs will vary depending on what these funds invest in. Some target-date funds hold lower-cost index funds while others use active funds that are pricier, but might provide the potential for higher returns or a less volatile investment journey."To" versus "through" glidepaths: A target-date fund's glidepath is how it manages the level of risk, or equity (more risky) versus fixed-income (less risky) exposure, throughout an investor's lifetime. Some funds reach their lowest equity allocation at the target retirement date and then maintain that exposure throughout retirement, known as a "to" glidepath, because they manage to retirement. Other funds manage through retirement by continuing to de-risk after (or through) the target retirement date. The "to" glidepath strategy argues that the riskiest day of an investor's financial life is the day she

Sep 14, 2020

Estimated Tax Payments Are Due September 15
Our income tax system operates on a "pay-as-you-go" basis, which means the IRS wants its cut of your income when you earn it. For employees, the government gets paid through tax withholding each time you get a paycheck. Retirees can have taxes withheld from Social Security payments and retirement plan distributions, too. However, if you're self-employed or don't have taxes withheld from other sources of taxable income (such as interest, dividends, or capital gains), it's up to you to periodically pay the IRS by making estimated tax payments.

Estimated taxes are paid in four equal installments — one installment for each quarter of the year. For the third quarter of 2020 (i.e., for income earned from June 1 to August 31), your estimated tax payment is due on September 15, 2020.

SEE MORE What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019? Use Form 1040-ES to calculate and pay your estimated taxes. The various payment methods are described in the instructions for the form. If you owe at least $1,000 in tax for the year, you could be hit with a penalty if you don't pay enough estimated tax throughout the year.

Also, unless you live in a state with no income tax, you might owe state estimated taxes, too. Check with the state tax agency where you live for state estimate tax payment due dates.


Sep 14, 2020

Take Charge of Your Portfolios, Ladies
Robin Wilson's divorce decimated her retirement savings. Because she had never felt comfortable with her financial advisers, she fired them, took control of her investment portfolio and began rebuilding it. She established a high-interest online bank account, found a brokerage with no trading fees, prioritized paying off credit card debt and dramatically cut back her expenses.

SEE MORE 5 Tips to Help Your Retirement Savings Last as Long as You Live "Each month, I add a small amount to the high-yield savings account, and when the stock market dropped due to COVID-19, I bought on the low," says Wilson, 50, an entrepreneur in Montclair, N.J. Her goal is a $4 million retirement fund by age 70. 

When it comes to investing, too many women learn the hard way that disengaging is a mistake. Women's retirement-savings needs differ from men's, and sooner or later, whether from widowhood or divorce, most women will need to take charge of their own money. 

Ironically, many women think they're terrible investors, even though countless studies show just the opposite is true. 

"Women have a lot of innate behaviors that make them exceptional investors, that give them an edge," says Meredith A. Jones of Nashville, Tenn., and the author of Women of the Street: Why Female Money Managers Generate Higher Returns (and How You Can Too) (Springer, $30). 

Women also control 51% of this country's investable wealth, a number that is expected to rise to 66% by 2030. And studies have shown women are 10% less likely to sell when stocks

Sep 13, 2020

Take These Steps to Make Your Finances Impenetrable to Threats
As I was looking out my window this weekend, I noticed a miniature battle between a small spider and a fly.  The spider was doing its best to attack the fly, however the fly was on the outside of the glass, and the spider was on the inside.  It was amusing to watch the fly move around the outside the window, while the spider tried valiantly to pounce.  Driven by instinct, not logic, this dance went on for several minutes, and obviously, the spider failed to capture its prey.

Somewhat like life for all of us, there are "spiders" of all sorts looking to attack us.  In terms of financial success, these threats come from several directions.  There are threats to our livelihood — which may come in the form of bad personal decisions or crises at our jobs or businesses.  Threats to our assets — which are realized from bad decisions, bad markets or possibly from lawsuits.  Threats to our health — from environmental factors or personal decisions.  The list is seemingly endless.

SEE MORE The 5 Times When You Should Review Your Financial Plan It occurred to me that personal success is very attributable to how impenetrable your "window glass" is to outside threats.  The degree to which you build this barrier with care and thoughtfulness is an important factor to achieving your financial and personal goals.  If you decide to go home every night and sit on the couch eating pizza and chips, your health may suffer.  If you spend every dollar you make and don't set aside something for retirement, your retirement income will suffer.  If you make spur-of-the-moment investment decisions without regard to a sound plan, your investments may suffer.  If you don't secure your family's financial future with adequate life insurance, your family may suffer.

I've been a financial planner for 22 years, and I've witnessed remarkable things h

Sep 11, 2020

Stock Market Today: Stocks End Wobbly Week With a Mixed Finish
Friday perfectly reflected the past week-plus of trading, with a roller-coaster session that ended up with mixed results for the broader indices and disappointing finishes for several large tech stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which gained 0.5% to 27,665, saw relative outperformance from cyclical plays such as Nike (NKE, 2.8%), Dow (DOW, 2.4%) and Caterpillar (CAT, 2.7%), but weakness in Apple (AAPL, -1.3%), Microsoft (MSFT, -0.7%) and Salesforce.com (CRM, -1.9%).

SEE MORE All 30 Dow Stocks Ranked: The Pros Weigh In The decent performance for the Dow came after a better-than-expected August print of the consumer price index, which rose 0.4% month-over-month.

"The continued firming of prices in the August report, similarly to last month, was partly driven by components impacted by Covid unwinding some of their previous large declines and bouncing back from depressed levels." says Rick Rieder, BlackRock's chief investment officer of global fixed income.

Sep 11, 2020

16 of the Most Popular Stocks Among Millennials
It seems that in the popular imagination, the Millennial will always be that youngish Starbucks barista who could never quite get their financial life in order.

But while perception may be slow to change, the reality is that the Millennials are all grown up. Almost everyone in this generation is 30 or older. And while they've been a little slower than previous generations to settle down and start families, they have adopted other trappings of early middle age, such as stock investing

For a generation known for doing things its own way and projecting their values with their pocketbook, the stock portfolios of Millennials are remarkably conventional. Apex Clearing prepared its quarterly review of Millennial stock portfolios, and of the top 10 stocks held by Millennials, most would be just as likely to be found in the portfolio of a Baby Boomer or Gen-Xer.

Apple (AAPL) and Amazon.com (AMZN) come in as the first and second most popular stocks among Millennial investors, and Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), Disney (DIS), Netflix (NFLX) and Advanced Micro Devices (

Sep 11, 2020

24 Bankruptcy Filings Chalked Up to COVID-19
Wall Street successfully fought off the bear market spurred by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, but the American economy's recovery is far from over.

As the pandemic stretches into the fall months, it continues to induce a growing number of bankruptcy filings. Research from investment bank Jefferies shows that large-firm bankruptcies shot 244% higher year-over-year in the July-August period, and that large-firm bankruptcies in 2020 through the end of August have more than doubled from the same point in 2019.

In many cases, COVID-19 was simply the straw that broke the camel's back. The retail industry in particular has endured a difficult past few months. Many of these chains were already overloaded with debt, and had been suffering from long-term declines amid changing tastes and Americans' swelling adoption of e-commerce, were finally pushed over the edge.

But the explosion in bankruptcies hasn't been limited to retail. COVID-19 has forced companies from several industries to seek out Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and other types of relief. The energy sector, where the oil declines of 2014-16 weakened a number of exploration and production companies, saw the coronavirus-sparked oil-demand slump finish off the job in several cases. A few financially wobbly companies in the restaurant and entertainment industries have collapsed, 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 24 companies whose recent bankruptcy filings can be chalked up to the COVID-19 outbreak. In most ca

Sep 10, 2020

What Does the Upcoming Election Mean to Your Investments?
Investing during an election year comes with a special kind of risk. Your mind is on sharp alert.  The very nature of politics and your nest egg can spark emotions that may drive you to make decisions in the short term that could have a negative impact on your long-term goals. 

SEE MORE Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans Consider taking a step back to "pause" and set aside your emotions and bias, keeping your long-term perspective in mind.  Ponder the three ideas below as we move closer to the  election.     

1. Stop worrying about which party is going to win. No matter who you believe to be the best fit, investors can create unneeded anxiety if they spend too much energy on the election results — and that can lead to irrational behaviors. In fact, historically speaking, elections have made very little impact over long-term investment returns.  As Capital Group economist Darrell Spence says, "There are many other variables that determine economic growth and market returns and, frankly, presidents have very little influence over them." 

SEE MORE Election 2020: President Trump's Tax Plans The graphic below shows that over the years, staying invested and avoiding the temptation to let emotions drive financial decisions has delivered the best overall outcome for investment portfolios.  Keep in mind, past performance results are not indicative of future performance, thus, market consequences exist regardless of your favorite party or candidate to your overall performance and returns in the long run. 

2. Don't be surprised to see volatility increasing as we nea

Sep 10, 2020

Will There Be a Second Stimulus Check?
Talk of a second round of stimulus checks began even before the IRS started delivering the first round of payments back in April. From the get-go, many lawmakers assumed that $1,200 (or more) per eligible American wasn't enough to provide a long-term boost to the U.S. economy. President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and other key players have said they support a second round of stimulus checks. Plus, both the HEROES Act (passed by the Democrat-controlled House in May) and the HEALS Act (introduced by Senate Republicans in July) included new stimulus check proposals.

SEE MORE What Trump's Payroll Tax Cut Will Mean for You So, with all this support, why hasn't a second round of stimulus checks been authorized? It's because Democrats and Republicans can't agree on the overall cost of the next economic stimulus bill. Democrats say they won't support any legislation that provides less than $2 trillion in spending. However, the White House is only willing to spend up to $1.5 trillion. And McConnell's "skinny" bill, which failed to pass in the Senate and didn't even include a stimulus check provision, only offered $650 billion in spending - $350 of which was previously appropriated money. (The HEALS Act called for $1.1 trillion in spending.) If lawmakers can't agree on the total amount of a new stimulus bill, then nothing will get done - which means you won't get a second stimulus check.

Chances of a Second

Sep 10, 2020

15 Dividend Aristocrats You Can Buy at a Discount
Finding reliable dividend growth stocks in 2020 - a year in which more than 60 S&P 500 companies have already cut their payouts - feels like a daunting task. Fortunately, investors can look to the Dividend Aristocrats.

The Dividend Aristocrats are an elite group including many of Wall Street's best dividend stocks that specialize in consistently rising cash distributions. To become an Aristocrat, a company must deliver at least 25 consecutive years of dividend hikes.

Dividends smooth out returns in times of volatility. They also contribute sizably to overall performance - dividends typically make up one-third of a stock's long-term total returns, according to Standard & Poor's. Those steady dividends and sturdy balance sheets make the Dividend Aristocrats less risky than non-dividend-paying stocks, and have helped drive long-term outperformance against the S&P 500.

But they're hardly impervious to market downturns. And because of the Aristocrats' lack of exposure to highflying stocks such as Amazon.com (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Alphabet (GOOGL), the index has significantly underperformed in 2020.

The upshot, however, is that several Dividend Aristocrats trade at a discount right now. Read on as we examine 15 elite dividend growth stocks that are currently valued at discounts to their indust

Sep 10, 2020

Should You Move Forward with Your Divorce or Wait?
Over the last several months, therapists have seen more marital conflict due to COVID-19. It turns out that, for couples who already have cracks in their marriage, being cooped up together, 24/7, is like putting salt on an open wound.

SEE MORE Thinking About Divorce? 5 Steps to Save Time, Money However, not all unhappy couples are running to divorce lawyers. Robert Moses, a top matrimonial attorney with Moses Ziegelman Richards & Notaro in New York City, reports that he has not seen a stampede of new clients. "Many of my colleagues have not seen a great uptick yet in new divorce matters right now, but it is the summertime. It's possible that when the weather gets worse people will not want to stay cooped up with a spouse they want to divorce."  

Aside from the weather, there are several other reasons why many are staying put, deciding to defer the date of their divorce.

Housing issues are holding couples together  Many couples decided to escape urban life during quarantine, landing in the suburbs, and beyond. According to a recent Harris Poll, 39% of Americans are considering moving to less crowded cities due to the pandemic. They are putting down roots, enrolling their kids in these school districts, and waiting to divorce until there is more clarity around the COVID situation, later in the year. There are just too many variables for these families to know where they will end up living, long-term. Starting a divorce action in their current location would not be ideal if the family decided to move back to their city of origin. 


Sep 10, 2020

6 Ways the Pandemic Has Been a Dress Rehearsal for Retirement - and How You Can Take Advantage
Uncharted territories are difficult to navigate, but what if you had the ability to do a test run for one of life's most important milestones - retirement? This pandemic has been just that in more ways than one.

Families, schools and businesses have been left feeling whiplashed by the efforts of government and officials as they close, re-open and re-close aspects or our economy and our daily lives. The global pandemic has tested our true grit on so many levels as a nation and economy.

It is also shining a spotlight on many of the areas where we have done a good job at preparing for retirement … and some areas that still need some work.

As the saying goes, the show must go on. The good news is if you're not retired yet, then there's still time to make some changes.

SEE MORE For a Happy Retirement, Try ‘Retirement Dating' First

Sep 09, 2020

Stock Market Today: Stocks Can't Muster Second Day of Gains
Early broad-market gains at Thursday's open weakened as the day went on before flipping to solid losses, especially in Big Tech.

The Labor Department reported 884,000 new unemployment-benefits claims for the week ending Sept. 5. That was worse than estimates of 850,000, and continuing claims ticked higher.

SEE MORE All 30 Dow Stocks Ranked: The Pros Weigh In "One week's worth of data does not make a trend and we hesitate to place too much weight on any one observation," writes Michael Gapen. Chief US Economist at Barclays Investment Bank, "however, the claims data this week suggest less momentum in labor market conditions in late August and early September.

"That said, the longer-term trends in initial and continuing claims remain positive and consistent with an economy that has maintained momentum well into the third quarter."

Also, Republicans' "skinny" COVID-19 relief bill failed to advance from the Senate, clipping the likelihood of any sort of stimulus before Election Day.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped by 2.0% to 10,919, weighed by significant declines in Apple (AAPL, -3.3%) and Microsoft (MSFT, -2.8%).

Other action in the stock market today:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1.5% lower to 27,534.The S&P 500 finished down 1.8% to 3,339. The small-cap Russell 2000 lost slightly less, declining 1.2% to 1,507. Peloton (

Sep 09, 2020

Stock Market Today: Nasdaq Comes to Life in Raucous Rebound
The Nasdaq Composite, fresh off its quickest 10% correction in history (just three sessions!), energetically bounced back Wednesday despite little in the way of fresh drivers.

AstraZeneca (AZN, -1.9%) said late Tuesday that it had to put its COVID-19 vaccine trial on hold when an "adverse reaction" triggered an automatic pause in the study - a common occurrence, but one that raised plenty of eyebrows given the heavy scrutiny on coronavirus-related trials.

SEE MORE 25 Small Towns With Big Millionaire Populations Also, the Labor Department reported that new hires fell from 7 million in June to 5.8 million in July, though job openings rose to a higher-than-expected 6.62 million.

The major indices powered ahead nonetheless. Big moves in Apple (AAPL, 4.0%), Microsoft (MSFT, 4.3%) and other tech stocks pushed the Nasdaq 2.7% higher to 11,141.

Other action in the stock market today:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 1.6% higher to 27,940. The S&P 500 gained 2.0% to close at 3,398. The Russell 2000 climbed 1.5% to 1,528. Lululemon Athletica (LULU, -7.4%) plunged despite a big earnings beat of 74 cents per share (versus 55 cents per share expected) and 2%

Sep 09, 2020

25 Small Towns With Big Millionaire Populations
A million bucks in liquid assets isn't what it used to be, but it's still really hard to amass.

Back out things such as the value of real estate (the bulk of most folks' wealth is tied up in their homes), employer-sponsored retirement plans and business partnerships, and only 6.7% of American households qualify as millionaires.

To clarify: That means they have at least $1 million in investable assets. Examples of investable assets include cash, stocks, bonds and funds, among a bunch of other types of investments and financial products.

By raw numbers, most millionaires in America can be found in and around big cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago - just as you would expect. But high concentrations of millionaires can be found in some far-flung places too.

Phoenix Marketing International, a firm that tracks the affluent market, annually ranks 933 urban areas, large and small, based on the percentage of millionaire households in each location. The following list of cities is limited to "micropolitan" areas, which the Census Bureau defines as urban clusters with populations between 10,000 and 50,000, "plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties."

In some cases, these locations benefit from being popular recreational areas or havens for wealthy retirees. In others, a particular industry drives local wealth. Either way, these are the 25 smallest cities and towns boasting the highest concentrations of millionaire households in the U.S. And just for good measure, we're also providing some important tax and cost-of-living information.


Sep 09, 2020

Uncle Sam's Bite of Social Security
After a lifetime of paying taxes on wages and other income, many people enter retirement expecting their Social Security benefits to be tax-free, but that's often not the case. For some retirees, Uncle Sam takes a hefty bite of those benefits. Fortunately, there are ways to lower the percentage of Social Security payments that are subject to federal tax.

SEE MORE 14 Social Security Tasks You Can Do Online Start with calculating the taxable amount by adding together 50% of your Social Security benefits, all tax-exempt interest and other items that make up your adjusted gross income (minus certain deductions like those for higher education). The result is your provisional income.

Social Security benefits are not taxed for single filers with provisional incomes of less than $25,000. The same is true for married couples filing jointly if their provisional income is less than $32,000. When provisional income is between $25,000 and $34,000 for a single filer, or $32,000 and $44,000 for a joint filer, up to 50% of Social Security benefits can be taxed. As much as 85% of those benefits are subject to tax when provisional income exceeds $34,000 on a single return or $44,000 on a joint return.

Reducing adjusted gross income is the key to lowering taxes on Social Security. If your AGI drops, so does your provisional income. When your provisional income shrinks, the percentage of benefits included in taxable income declines, lowering the tax on benefits.

Your strategy for reducing the tax should be put in place long before your first Social Security check arrives. Matt Nadeau, wealth adviser at the Piershale Financial Group in Barrington, Ill.

Sep 08, 2020

This Year's Benefits Open Enrollment Period Is an Opportunity You Don't Want to Miss
With COVID-19 expected to be a part of our daily lives for the foreseeable future, many Americans are expecting that they could get sick. In fact, Voya research shows that more than half of Americans (52%) believe someone close to them will be infected with the virus. At the same time, many are also discovering — often to their surprise — that their medical insurance has coverage gaps, so if they do find themselves needing care, they might need to dip into their personal or emergency savings to make up the difference.

SEE MORE What You Should Know About Open Enrollment With the fall open enrollment season approaching, so too is the opportunity to take advantage of previously untapped benefits offered by your employer. In fact, many are now paying closer attention to their workplace benefits during these uncertain times. New Voya research finds that nearly 7-in-10 employees (71%) plan to spend more time reviewing their voluntary benefits as a result of COVID-19 than they did during the last enrollment period. And more than half (53%) plan to make changes to their benefits coverages offered through their employer.

While understanding benefits offerings can sometimes require a little extra "homework," there are many products that you can access that could provide greater coverage, while keeping costs affordable. Below are three tips to consider to help maximize this opportunity:

Start thinking about your workplace benefits now   Research shows employees only spend 17 minutes electing their benefits, while Netflix users spend an average of 18 minutes deciding what to watch. I get it, everyone is busy — especially in the midst of a global pandemic. But even if your employer hasn't yet provided details on this year's offerings, consider getting a jump-start on your homework by checki

Sep 08, 2020

Qualifying for Social Security Spousal and Survivor Benefits
If you never paid into Social Security or didn't work long enough to qualify, you may need to rely on Social Security spousal benefits for your retirement. That also may be true for those who stopped working in order to care for their children and/or elderly relatives.

SEE MORE 14 Social Security Tasks You Can Do Online Even if you've paid into the system and qualify for Social Security based on your own work record, you might qualify for a higher benefit through your spouse, or even an ex-spouse.

Depending on your situation, there are some requirements you must meet in order to qualify for spousal or survivor benefits. 

How to Qualify for Spousal Benefits Whether you're currently married or divorced determines how you can qualify for spousal benefits. 


You can qualify for spousal benefits if you meet all of these requirements:

Your spouse is already receiving retirement benefits.You have been married for at least one year. You are at least 62 years old, or you are caring for a child who is under age 16 or disabled. Divorced

If you are divorced, you can receive Social Security spousal benefits based on your ex-spouse's earnings record if you meet all of these requirements:

You were married for at least 10 years.You never remarried. You are age 62 or older. Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits. The benefit that you would receive would be more than what you'd get based on your own work record. Note: It's not necessary for your ex to be taking his or her benefits for you to receive spousal benefits, but if he or she isn't, there is one additional requirement to qualify for spousal benefits. In t

Sep 08, 2020

Stock Market Today: Trump's Swing at China Sends Nasdaq Into Correction
A stock market that was already full of jitters got something a little more tangible to worry about over the weekend, and that spilled out into Tuesday trade that sent the Nasdaq Composite into a correction.

President Donald Trump on Labor Day said America would "end reliance on China once and for all, whether it's decoupling or putting in massive tariffs like I've been doing already." China, meanwhile, announced an initiative to help set global data-security standards -- a counter to America's "Clean Network" guidelines that would exclude some Chinese firms.

SEE MORE 20 Best Stocks to Invest In During This Recession Large tech firms took the worst of it, including Tesla (TSLA, -21.1%). Standard & Poor's surprised many market observers by not adding the electric vehicle maker to the S&P 500. Instead, online marketplace Etsy (ETSY), automatic test equipment supplier Teradyne (TER) and health care tech and manufacturing firm Catalent (CTLT) will be elevated as of Sept. 21. Out will be tax preparer H&R Block (HRB), beauty company Coty (

Sep 08, 2020

How to Save on a Used Car
Ryan Ermey: If you're looking for a new set of wheels without breaking the bank, you're likely looking at used cars. But where to even begin? Well, start here. Kiplinger's resident car guy David Muhlbaum joins the show to talk used car buying strategies in our main segment, and because Sandy is out for today's show, we let him stick around. We'll talk the ends and outs of the new payroll tax cut and I'll go over some of the finer points of my online brokerage rankings. That's all ahead on this episode of Your Money's Worth. Stick around.

Episode Length: 00:33:09Listen to previous Your Money's Worth episodes SUBSCRIBE: Apple Google Play Spotify Overcast RSS Ryan Ermey: Welcome to Your Money's Worth. I'm Kiplinger's associate editor Ryan Ermey and Sandy Block is away from the podcast today dealing with some family issues. And so stepping in for her today is Kiplinger's senior online editor David Muhlbaum. Thank you for stepping in on such short notice, David. Really appreciate it.

David Muhlbaum: My pleasure. Hello, hello, hello.

Ryan Ermey: So

Sep 08, 2020

Guidance on Choosing the Right Trustee (or Trustees) for Your Estate
You know how hard you have worked and the sacrifices that have been made to achieve your goals. In order to protect what you have worked for and provide for the most important people in your life, you may be counseled to put some or all of your assets into a trust.

SEE MORE The (Only) 3 Reasons You Should Have an Irrevocable Trust Once you have decided to fund a trust as part of your succession planning, you then need to determine who can best carry out your plans. "Who do I choose as my trustee or trustees?" becomes a critical planning question.

Should my trustee be my spouse or child? Only you know the strengths and weaknesses of your family members, putting you in the best position to decide if your spouse or your child can appreciate a trustee's


Being a trustee creates many duties under state law. These include, but are not limited to, impartiality between the interests of the current and future beneficiaries, properly accounting to all beneficiaries and prudently investing trust funds. Trustees also face a prohibition against self-dealing.

Questions to consider:

Can your trustee separate his or her personal feelings and interests from those of the beneficiaries and exercise good judgment at all times?Will all parties be treated impartially if your children are not your spouse's children? Does your trustee have an ability to analyze investments? Will there be temptation for your trustee to take risk hoping for a hefty return at the expense of the other beneficiaries? What if your spouse re-marries? Will a child who is trustee be able to exercise good judgment when a sibling is a beneficiary, or will tension develop between them? Can your sons-in-law and daughters-in-law

Sep 08, 2020

A Kiplinger-Alliance for Lifetime Income Poll: Americans & Retirement Security
Americans are generally upbeat about their prospects for a secure and comfortable retirement, even after feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and stock market volatility. But preretirees are less confident than those already retired about creating a secure income stream in retirement.

SEE MORE How to Create Income for Life Those are among the conclusions of a new poll conducted by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, in partnership with the Alliance for Lifetime Income, a trade group that helps educate consumers about how to protect assets in retirement.

The pandemic-induced bear market in February and March dampened the retirement investments of nearly two-thirds of respondents. And a majority (56%) of those polled say they would like more guaranteed income.

Even so, nearly three-fourths of respondents are very or somewhat confident that they can create a secure income stream, or "paycheck," in retirement. Part of the reason: About half of preretirees and 70% of retirees in our survey receive a pension, although for more than half of them it is a modest monthly income of $2,500 or less. Women, respondents in their fifties and those with net worth of less than $500,000 are somewhat less confident about achieving a secure retirement.

We've included highlights from the poll here (figures are medians unless otherwise indicated).

What sources of retirement income (beyond Social Security) do you expect to receive?* Withdrawals from a retirement savings plan: 66%Pension from my employer: 50% Interest income from CDs and savings accounts: 39% Income from bonds, dividend-paying stocks or REITs: 33%

Sep 08, 2020

Considering a Structured Settlement? Watch Out for Fraud by ‘Bad Apples'
Your child was the victim of medical malpractice, and after a long legal fight you won a structured settlement. You may be relieved, but don't let your guard down: The people you trust to set up your annuity payments may be out to steal your money.

SEE MORE Why ‘Rent vs. Buy' Is the Wrong Question  It's rare, but sadly, it does happen. Joe Gargan, CEO of The Pension Company, in June pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $8 million meant for child victims of medical malpractice injuries. He faces up to 30 years in prison.  The Gargan scandal is the second time in three years that a structured settlement broker has been sentenced to prison for crimes involving insurance settlements. In July 2017 Michael Woodyard, a broker with structured settlement company Ringler Associates, pleaded guilty to a $4.6 million insurance fraud and was sentenced to 87 months in prison.

What's a Structured Settlement? I strongly support structured settlement annuities for accident victims, workers' compensation cases and almost anyone settling an injury or wrongful death insurance claim. Plaintiffs can use some or all of their settlement funds to purchase an annuity with a highly rated life insurance company that provides safe, tax-free income.  A structured settlement is like having your own pit bull that growls when "family and friends" pressure an accident victim for a loan. The annuity pays a specific amount on a certain time table, preventing the accident victim from becoming his own worst financial nightmare, because the payments can't be changed.

With tax rates likely rising, the prospect of long-term tax-free income

Sep 07, 2020

11 Top-Rated Utility Stocks to Buy Now
While perhaps not as thrilling as the tech startups that make next-generation consumer electronics or fancy cloud computing tools, utility stocks still play a very important role in any well-rounded investment portfolio.

After all, the most dynamic technologies aren't worth anything if there isn't electricity to power them. In 2020, power is nearly as crucial as food and shelter to consumers - and in a digital economy, it's even more important for businesses.

That adds up to a strong baseline of reliable revenue, regardless of the ups and downs of the unemployment rate or consumer spending. And as a result, many low-risk investors find themselves drawn to utility stocks for the stability as well as the dividends typically paid out by this sector.

If you're interested in utilities for any of these reasons, here are 11 utility stocks that are grabbing the attention of Wall Street analysts recently.

SEE MORE 65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On in 2020 Data is as of Sept. 7 unless otherwise noted. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent payout and dividing by the share price.

Sep 07, 2020

Does a 40% Bond Allocation Make Sense in Today's Portfolios?
Whether you're the kind of investor who meets regularly with an adviser or the set-it-and-forget-it type who rarely looks at your 401(k), there's a good chance your portfolio is set up with something close to a 60/40 mix of stocks and bonds.

SEE MORE 10 Things You Should Know About Bonds That asset allocation — with approximately 60% of an investor's money in stocks and 40% in bonds — has been the traditional model for decades. It's based on the conventional wisdom that the "safer" bond allocation will offset the risk of investing in equities, allowing investors to maintain a reasonably healthy balance in their portfolio whether the stock market is flourishing or floundering. Bonds have long been viewed as a good alternative for moderate and conservative investors who like the stability and income potential they offer.

But in recent years, the 60/40 model hasn't held up so well for many. That's partly because the stock market is changing, and more overall diversification in a global economy has become a must for investors. But it's also because the interest rates on bonds — especially government-backed bonds — have been sitting at such extremely low levels. (As I'm writing this, the rate for a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond is an abysmal 0.69%.)

And if interest rates go up? Well, that might be a good thing for future bond purchases. But if new bonds are paying a higher interest rate than the fixed rate on the bonds you're holding, those older bonds could drop significantly in value.

So, if the bonds in your portfolio are earning next to nothing with low interest rates, and they could lose value if interest rates go up, does it make sense to have such a high allocation to bonds anymore?

For a lot of folks, the simple answer is no — and it's probably time to take that allocation down a notch. OK … a few notches. There ca

Sep 05, 2020

Is the Stock Market Closed on Labor Day 2020?
The fall equinox might not come for another couple of weeks, but Labor Day - what many consider to be the end of summer - is upon us. And the stock market is indeed closed for 2020's Labor Day, which falls on Monday, Sept. 7, as is the bond market.

But unlike some market holidays, there are no early hours ahead of Labor Day. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq Stock Market and bond market all have regular trading hours on Friday, Sept. 4.

SEE MORE All 30 Dow Stocks Ranked: The Pros Weigh In Also note that a thin earnings calendar typically accompanies the Labor Day holiday.

Labor Day, which celebrates the American worker, is a longstanding holiday in the U.S. It originally was celebrated on a statewide basis, in Oregon, which was the first to adopt it in 1887. Seven years later, the U.S. made Labor Day a national holiday. We're hardly alone - dozens of other countries have a similar celebration called International Workers' Day, but that falls on the first day in May.

The following is a schedule of all stock market and bond market holidays for 2019. Note that regular trading hours for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq Stock Market are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern on weekdays. The stock markets close at 1 p.m. on early-closure days; bond markets close early at 2 p.m.

2020 Market Holidays DateHoliday NYSE Nasdaq Bond Markets Wednesday, Jan. 1 New Year's Day Closed Closed Closed Monday, Jan. 20 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Closed

Sep 04, 2020

Stock Market Today: Uplifting Jobs Report Softens Bears' Bite
Thursday's sudden jolt of volatility hasn't worked its way out of the market yet, but the hungry selling did subside somewhat Friday in the wake of a heartening improvement in America's employment data.

The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls came in at a better-than-expected 1.37 million for August, and that unemployment dropped to 8.4% from 10.2% in July.

SEE MORE 20 Best Stocks to Invest In During This Recession "A drop in the unemployment rate to single digits … is a psychologically meaningful threshold to breach," says Rick Rieder, BlackRock's Chief Invvestment Officer of Global Fixed Income.

That had little effect early in Friday's session, but bulls chipped away at the losses during the afternoon to help the major indices close at much more modest declines. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which dropped by as much as 2.2%, finished off 0.6% to 28,133.

Other action in the stock market today:

The Nasdaq Composite, which was as much as 5% lower, ended down 1.3% to 11,313.The S&P 500 declined 0.8% to 3,426. The Russell 2000 finished 0.6% to 1,535. A quick reminder: Labor Day, observed on Monday, Sept. 7, is a stock market holiday. It will be followed by a thin but interesting earnings calendar that includes several interesting momentum plays.

A Little Relief, Not a Rally Starter Perspective here is everything. The jobs report represents a positive trend, but it also doesn't signal that the economy is out of the woods.

Sep 04, 2020

18 Things You Should Know Before Shopping at Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's is well-known to its fans for low prices on unique food items, ranging from cookie butter to turkey corn dogs. The chain is also known for its quirky culture. Employees, easy to spot in their Hawaiian shirts, go out of their way to be helpful, and plastic lobsters are used to decorate stores.

The global health pandemic has forced the supermarket chain to make some changes to its day-to-day operations. However, customers can still appreciate the unconventional touches that help make the Trader Joe's shopping experience stand out from a traditional grocer.

If you've never set foot inside one of Trader Joe's 500-plus locations, here are the shopping secrets you need to know before making your first trip.

SEE MORE 19 Products You'll Waste Money Buying at Warehouse Clubs

Sep 04, 2020

The Pros' Picks: 9 Stocks to Sell Now
It might seem counterintuitive, but as investors get deep into a stock market rally like the current one, it doesn't hurt to monitor the portfolio for stocks to sell now.

No stock goes up in perpetuity. It might be easy to look at the red-hot runs of shares that double and triple in a year or two and think the good times will last forever. But longtime BlackBerry (BB) shareholders likely wish they had taken some off the top after the stock's 500% run in the late aughts. Ask JCPenney and Sears shareholders whether it was worth holding until the bitter end.

Yes, Warren Buffett will tell you "our favorite holding period is forever," but just because it's his favorite holding period doesn't mean he lives and dies by buy-and-hold. For every American Express (AXP) that he holds for several decades, there's an American Airlines (AAL) that he ditched in just a few years. Heck, Buffett trimmed or exited 18 positions last quarter and dumped stock in 21 companies in Q1!

Looking for stocks to sell is just part of the game.

But where should investors take profits? We've analyzed the total-market Russell 3000 for stocks that have run up of late, many of which are sitting on sizable gains, but that Wall Street thinks are overcooked.

Here are nine stocks to sell now, according to Wall Street's pros. S&P Global Market Intelligence su

Sep 04, 2020

For a Happy Retirement, Try ‘Retirement Dating' First
It may sound provocative, but to make the most of retirement, you should give "retirement dating" a try.

"But I'm happily married (you may be thinking), I don't want to retirement date."

 I don't care. Do it! Date often. Try all different types of dating, until you get it right. Trust me. If you do, you'll be thanking me later.

What do I mean by retirement dating? You see, retirement is a really (REALLY) big deal. Once you retire, it's hard to unretire. You also, generally, only get one shot at it. Thus, you want to get it right. This is why I suggest doing a retirement trial run a few years before you actually pull the proverbial plug on your career.

Don't walk into work one day, retire cold-turkey, and then spend the next few years figuring out what retirement means to you. Instead, if you want to maximize your retirement, I suggest testing the waters a little bit (or "dating") prior to actually fully retiring. This way you'll be prepared to hit the ground running.

Now that you know what I mean by retirement dating, let's talk about the couple of areas worth dating before the real deal.

SEE MORE 7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement

Sep 03, 2020

What's Your ‘Money Type'? Knowing It Could Help You Avoid a Financial Blunder
As a wealth adviser, I've witnessed the various ways people react to financial stress. While I'm sometimes surprised at an individual's response, I remind myself that people have deeply ingrained beliefs and patterns about money.

SEE MORE The Coronavirus at Work: Your Legal Questions Answered There is a large body of research that explores the relationship between money and emotions, financial archetypes, and money psychology.  The Money Coaching Institute® holds that there are eight "money types" or archetypes:

The InnocentThe Victim The Warrior The Martyr The Fool The Creator/Artist The Tyrant The Magician Though not specifically included in this list, I'd add one more as a common financial archetype among investors: The Saver/Conservative.     

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I've seen clients acting in ways consistent with many of these financial archetypes. It's a universal truth that we learn things about ourselves during difficult times. So, perhaps now is the time to better understand your relationship with money so you do not let your own stress behaviors derail your financial game plan. 

Below are the three most common behaviors I have observed in the wake of COVID-19, as well as the respective financial archetype for each stress response:  

 Increasing risk within an investment portfolio in hopes of a large payoff (The Fool/ Pleasure Seeker)Selling investments in favor of cash (The Saver/Conservative) Refusing to inspect your financial situation or make changes (The Innocent) Are You a Fool/Pleasure Seeker? Here are Some Tips for You 

After t

Sep 03, 2020

Stock Market Today: Tech Stocks Tank in Stunning Market Downturn
The recent run to breathtaking stock valuations finally gave way in a big way Thursday. Despite little in the way of troubling macroeconomic triggers, the major indices started significantly lower and continued to weaken throughout the session.

Last week's jobless claims weren't disastrous - the seasonally adjusted 881,000 claims were 130,000 less than a week before, but much of the decline was chalked up to a change in the Labor Department's methodology.

SEE MORE 11 Best Value Stocks for This Overpriced Market "Since the Labor Department will only apply the new seasonal adjustment process to data beginning with this week's claims report and not adjust prior data, it injects uncertainty about how to interpret the week-to-week change in initial and continuing claims," write Barclays Investment Bank's Michael Gapen and Pooja Sriram. "Altogether, while this week's jobless claims data, if taken at face value, point to a further improvement in labor market conditions, the introduction of new seasonal adjustment factors mean it is difficult to assess the degree to which conditions improved."

But Thursday's selling was vicious nonetheless, and worst among some of this year's biggest winners. Apple (AAPL, -8.0%), Amazon.com (AMZN, -4.6%), Microsoft (MSFT, -6.2%) and Tesla (

Sep 03, 2020

23 Bankruptcy Filings Chalked Up to COVID-19
Wall Street successfully fought off the bear market spurred by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, but the American economy's recovery is far from over. As the pandemic stretches into the fall months, it continues to induce a growing number of bankruptcy filings.

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

The retail industry in particular has endured a difficult past few months. Sure, many "non-essential" retailers were finally able to open their doors once more. However, several of these chains that were already overloaded with debt, and had been suffering from long-term declines amid changing tastes and Americans' swelling adoption of e-commerce, were finally pushed over the edge.

But the swath in bankruptcies hasn't been limited to retail. COVID-19 has forced companies from several industries to seek out Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and other types of relief. The energy sector, where the oil declines of 2014-16 weakened a number of exploration and production companies, saw the coronavirus-sparked oil-demand slump finish off the job in several cases. A few financially wobbly companies in the restaurant and entertainment industries have collapsed, 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 23 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.


Sep 02, 2020

Stock Market Today: The Dow Has Record Territory in Its Sights
The stock market came out swinging today for a second straight September session despite little news to justify the optimism.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended an eviction moratorium through the end of the year, sparing millions of renters, the economy doled out several warning signals. For one, ADP's private-sector jobs report showed just 428,000 payroll additions in August, far less than the 1 million expected.

SEE MORE Dow Stocks: The Pros' Third-Quarter Rankings "On the plus side, the August reading still showed a month-over-month increase of 216K payrolls," says Nick Juhle, director of investment research at $14B trust-only bank Greenleaf Trust. "On the downside, the ADP estimate was lower than the (Bureau of Labor Statistics) estimate for Friday and it still missed. This could either suggest that we are in for a light report on Friday or further highlight the recent divergence in outcomes from the two sources.

"Either way, hiring has slowed significantly since the initial snapback in May and June. The labor market rebound remains gradual with unemployment well above pre-pandemic levels, and significant headwinds remain."

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve's latest "Beige Book" survey of the economy further illustrated a slowing recovery. "Continued uncertainty and volatility related to the pandemic, and its negative effect on consumer and business activity, was a theme echoed across the country," the report reads.

And the Congressional Budget Office revealed the U.S. will run an all-time-high $3.3 trillion deficit for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, with U.S. debt set to exceed GDP in 2021 for the first time since World War II.


Sep 02, 2020

11 Best Value Stocks for This Overpriced Market
Stocks have made a remarkable (and remarkably rapid) recovery from the 2020 bear market. Indeed, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 have recaptured and reset their all-time highs.

But stocks have become incredibly frothy once more. The S&P 500 trades at 27 times analysts' earnings estimates. The Nasdaq is even loftier, at a 34 forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Stocks are simply expensive again, making it difficult to find great value stocks.

The way to start, of course, is to focus on companies that have been overlooked by investors because of temporary challenges but nonetheless remain well-positioned to deliver superior returns over the longer-term.

In hopes of identifying the best value stocks right now, especially for buy-and-hold investors, we looked for:

Companies trading at forward price-to-earnings (P/E) or price-to-cashflow multiples that are below peer levels and/or the company's historical normDividend payers with modest payouts and steady (but mostly rising) dividends Businesses generating reliably strong cash flows Stocks with consensus "Buy" ratings from Wall Street's analyst community Here are 11 of the best value stocks to buy in this overpriced market. Some might remain against the ropes until America's economic recovery picks up the pace. But patient investors could reap big rewards from buying now and holding through the recovery.

SEE MORE 20 Best Stocks to Buy for the New Bull Market Data is as of Sept. 1. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent payout and dividing by the share price.

Sep 02, 2020

Back in School Decades Later
The stories about older adults going back to school usually focus on people like Jim Kruger, a college dropout who, after retirement, worked his way up from a community college to a master's degree in public policy and now at the age of 71 is on track to receive his doctorate by his next birthday.

SEE MORE Free (or Cheap) College for Retirees in All 50 States Kruger's experience is inspiring but not necessarily typical of returning learners, who increasingly have lots of options besides traditional degrees, such as certificate programs for specific skills.

"The environment today presents substantially more choice than we saw a decade ago," says Rovy Branon, vice provost for the University of Washington Continuum College, which includes professional and continuing education. "The right education increasingly depends on the individual. For some, a graduate degree is the perfect accelerator into a final act of one's career. On the other hand, certificates from reputable institutions can provide a shorter path to signal new and ongoing skills development."

People go back to school for myriad reasons. They want a degree or the expertise to land a promotion or pay raise; they want to switch careers; they have been laid off and need to retrain; or after retiring, they want to return to work in a new field or fulfill a lifelong dream.

The number of older Americans enrolled in higher education is unclear because the statistics often don't include nondegree programs or isolate 50-plus learners. But there's a sense the number is growing.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions by students age 35 years and older increased 23% between 2000 and 2014 and is projected to rise 20% between 2014 and 2025.

Sep 02, 2020

Want Stock Market Gains but Hate Risk? Buffer Annuities May Be for You
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's first action when the COVID-19 pandemic hit was to further loosen monetary policy by dropping interest rates to near zero. There's almost nowhere for rates to go but up … or sideways. Neither scenario is rosy for investors who need to take some risk off the table.

SEE MORE 12 Things You Didn't Know About Annuities Because of the inverse relationship between interest rates and bond prices, a rising-rate environment promises to take the teeth out of fixed income investments for a while, at least. This is significant for recent retirees and those nearing retirement when they aim to navigate sequence-of-returns risk by decreasing their allocations to equities.

Without traditional fixed income safe havens, many investors have had to look elsewhere or possibly take on additional risk to meet their retirement goals. But for recent retirees, or those late in their careers, taking on additional risk without some measure of safety may not be an option.

An Alternative: The Index-Linked Annuity A relatively new solution in the marketplace, the index-linked annuity (ILA), allows investors to transfer some risk without sacrificing the possibility for some upside potential. Developed in the wake of the Great Recession, ILAs have piqued the interest of investors during the Coronacrash when markets cratered, then came roaring back in a five-week span.

When used as a portion of the overall portfolio, these protections may reduce the portfolio's overall risk by adding a buffer to smooth out the ride when markets get choppy.

With so much uncertainty, a flight to safety makes sense. Before pulling the trigger on an ILA, there are three important things to know:

How you are paid.How the pro

Sep 02, 2020

Talk to Your Financial Professional about What Keeps You Up at Night
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the list of things that Americans are worrying about continues to grow. And almost certainly, concerns over finances are toward the top of many lists. Worries over both day-to-day finances, as well as longer-term planning and strategies for retirement are on the minds of many these days.

SEE MORE The 5 Times When You Should Review Your Financial Plan The good news is that these concerns are exactly what financial professionals can help address. But it is a two-way street. What if the clients aren't bringing up these concerns with their financial professionals? Unfortunately, this is the case for many people who are currently working with a professional, according to a recent study by Allianz Life. Concerns over market volatility, outliving their money in retirement, and the rising cost of living are all top of mind, but a shocking number of people are not bringing these topics up with their financial professionals.

Clients work with financial professionals to get their knowledge, guidance and resources on how to address these risks, which can derail a sound retirement strategy. But for some reason, many people just aren't broaching these topics.

If you fall into this camp, here are some ideas to get you thinking about these risks, and how to bring them up with your financial professional.

Help! I'm worried about navigating market swings For so long, the conversation around retirement has been focused on accumulation. People wondering if they have enough saved, or seeing that they should have a certain amount of money if they want to retire comfortably. But after the past few months, many may be shifting their

Sep 01, 2020

Are Bonds Passé?
Stocks provide growth, while bonds and other fixed-income instruments provide income and reduce volatility. That's the traditional view of asset allocation. But today, most bonds pay low rates and produce much less income than they once did. The traditional wisdom should be revisited.

SEE MORE 10 Things You Should Know About Bonds Fixed annuities of various types can replace bonds, because they can offer higher yields and tax deferral and, optionally, guaranteed lifetime income. All annuities are tax-advantaged; earnings are not taxed until you start taking money out.

Are you looking for a better-paying alternative to bonds and certificates of deposit? Then consider a fixed-rate annuity, also known as a multi-year guaranteed annuity. Like a bank CD, it offers a set interest rate for a set period, usually three to 10 years. Rates today are usually significantly higher than those of a bank CD with a comparable term. For example, a five-year fixed-rate annuity from one company was offering a guaranteed annual yield of 3.45% for five years as of mid-August 2020 — compared to about 1.5% for the best five-year CDs, according to Bankrate. Fixed-rate annuities work well to fund an IRA, too. 

Pros: Besides offering competitive rates, fixed-rate annuities are a simple, straightforward product that makes comparison shopping easy. All of your deposit goes to work for you immediately. There's some liquidity because many annuities let you withdraw up to 10% of your accumulation value annually without penalty.

Cons: There's no growth potential beyond the guaranteed interest rate. If you cancel the annuity before the term is up, the insurer will charge a penalty.   Withdrawals before you reach

Sep 01, 2020

No Summer Vacation This Year? What to Do with the Money You've Saved
From spring through summer this year, we've seen travel get disrupted by COVID-19. Some countries have even banned international travel to help contain the virus.

SEE MORE COVID-19: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Chance to Change Our Spending Habits Clients at my firm who began planning dream vacations many months ago have been asking us for suggestions: What should they do with the cash they saved up for these trips that they've had to cancel? It's a good question, considering the potential amounts we're talking about. A typical one-week Disney vacation for a family of four costs an average of $6,716, and a two-week European trip costs about an average of $4,000 per person, according to financial site SpendMeNot.

Here are five options to consider implementing with your saved funds. No one is better than the other, and you have to rank these for your own situation. No shame in doing more than one!

Option 1: Stash That Cash (But Treat Yourself, Too)  Place most of the money you were going to spend on a trip this year into a safer interest-bearing account — and use the rest to enjoy your time off with a staycation. Treat yourself to something nice to make this a little more fun.

Here are a couple of staycation ideas that you can spend some of your vacation money on:

Eat like you're on vacation. Instead of having the same old sandwiches and salads, splurge on some of your favorite foods you'd have while traveling.Splurge on patio furniture, a fire pit or something else to enjoy outside on your time off. Option 2:  Save It All Now So You Can Go Big Later Don't feel the need to treat yourself? Consider not spending any of this year's vacation money, and

Sep 01, 2020

Stock Market Today: September Slump for Stocks? Maybe Later.
There's plenty of September left, but stocks didn't give any indication Tuesday that they were ready for their seasonal swoon.

The stock market was helped today by the Institute for Supply Management's national manufacturing index latest reading, which improved from July's 54.2 reading to 56.0 in August, indicating accelerating growth, even though factory employment continued to decline.

SEE MORE 7 Best Stocks to Buy Now for More Red-Hot Returns Walmart (WMT, 6.3%) surged after the company officially unveiled its Amazon Prime competitor subscription offering, Walmart , a $98/year service featuring free delivery, fuel discounts and more, available starting Sept. 15. Apple's (AAPL, 4.0%) momentum continued another day after its stock split, though Tesla (TSLA, -4.7%), also fresh off its own split, dropped after it would raise up to $5 billion in a new stock offering.

But Zoom Video (ZM) was the market's darling Tuesday, exploding 40.8% to a new record close after the video conferencing company reported blowout quarterly resu

Sep 01, 2020

7 Actively Managed ETFs to Buy for an Edge
It has taken some time, but actively managed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are finally gaining traction with investors.

According to new data from ETFGI, a leading ETF consultant, ETFs and exchange-traded products (ETPs) had net inflows of $37.2 billion in July, bringing year-to-date net inflows to $226.3 billion, bringing the industry to a whopping $4.6 trillion in assets.

Actively managed ETFs and ETPs grew assets by 8% in July to $194 billion - a record amount for the late-blooming product offering. Unsurprisingly, more than two-thirds of those assets are invested in fixed-income ETFs and ETPs.

One of the game-changers for actively managed ETFs could be the movement to semi-transparent funds (more on those in a bit). American Century is leading the charge in this area, which has resulted in an uptick in the number of new active ETFs. Through the end of June, 63 passive ETFs had launched versus 68 active products - the first time in more than 20 years that active has outdone passive.

Here are seven actively managed ETFs to consider for your portfolio. This is a list of equity and fixed-income options - including one of the newer semi-transparent offerings - that are right for a variety of risk tolerances and investing horizons.

SEE MORE Kip ETF 20: The Best Cheap ETFs You Can Buy Data is as of Aug. 31. Yields represent the trailing 12-month yield, which is a standard measure for equity funds, unless otherwise indicated.

Sep 01, 2020

How to Find the Right Life Insurance Policy for You
Ryan Ermey: If you're considering adding a life insurance policy, you should know that not all policies or indeed types of life insurance are created equal. Jennifer Fitzgerald, CEO and co-founder of online insurance broker Policygenius.com, breaks down the nuances in a main segment interview.

Episode Length: 00:28:20Listen to previous Your Money's Worth episodes SUBSCRIBE: Apple Google Play Spotify Overcast RSS Ryan Ermey: On today's show, Sandy tells us about new fees that have cropped up since the pandemic, and I break down changes to the Dow Jones Industrial Average. That's all ahead on this episode of Your Money's Worth. Stick around.

Ryan Ermey: Welcome to Your Money's Worth. I'm Kiplinger's associate editor Ryan Ermey, joined as always by senior editor Sandy Block. Sandy, how are you?

Sandy Block: I'm good, Ryan. How are you?

Ryan Ermey: Not too bad. Headed back to Jersey this weekend, which is always a treat. In the meantime, we're talking about something a bit less nice and that is fees. And we've seen some trends of fees cropping up that are specifically related to the pandemic. So what are we talking a

Sep 01, 2020

Tricky Divorce Issue: How to Divide 401(k)s, IRAs and Annuities
Many things occupy your mind during a divorce. Understandably, taxes can likely fall to the bottom of the list. But there are critical tax considerations that should be evaluated, particularly when it comes to dividing qualified assets, such as 401(k)s, IRAs and annuities.

Dividing 401(k)s and Pensions SEE MORE Thinking About Divorce? 5 Steps to Save Time, Money Dividing 401(k)s and pensions can seem quite complex because you need to obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which is a court order separate from a divorce decree. A spouse has legal grounds to all or part of a 401(k), and each plan has specific benefit provisions and administrative rules. For example, some plan administrators require you to wait until retirement to officially divide the assets.

Most divorce attorneys would promote reaching an amicable agreement with your spouse. Here are four options to consider:

One spouse keeps the 401(k) in exchange for another asset of equal value. This is the least complicated approach, but it requires complex tax calculations and may require negotiations to settle growth potential.Divide the 401(k). While less complicated on the surface, a deeper understanding of the plan is required, which extends time and effort. Liquidate the 401(k) to pay one spouse. This is generally the least desirable approach because of taxes, potential penalties and need for legal approval. Not everyone may qualify for this approach either. Roll the 401(k) into an IRA. A rollover avoids penalties and tax liability and gives the recipient self-direction of account management. That said, this option is limited to those who have left their employer or are over age 59½. As for pensions,

Aug 31, 2020

Stock Market Today: Nasdaq Sizzles Again, New-Look Dow Drags
The stock market closed out August with a familiar theme from the past few months: The Nasdaq Composite surging ahead while the Dow Jones Industrial Average's blue-chips fail to keep up.

The Nasdaq, which jumped 0.7% to a record-high 11,775.46, was helped by two of the highest-profile stocks of the day: Apple (AAPL, 3.4%) and Tesla (TSLA, 12.6%), which both started trading on a split-adjusted basis Monday.

SEE MORE 13 Best Vanguard Funds for the Next Bull Market Apple split its shares 4-for-1, while Tesla executed a 5-for-1 split, making their shares far more accessible to "mom 'n' pop" investors.

Tesla's stock, in particular, is a difficult one for analysts to peg. Consider Wedbush, which updated its price target and outlook on Tesla to account for the stock split. While its 12-month price target is $380 (a 31% decline from here), it has a $700 bull-case scenario that has TSLA shares climbing another 40% from here.

"We believe the stock split decision was a smart move by Tesla and its Board given the parabolic move in shares over the past six months ... and likely other larger tech stalwarts will follow this same path over the coming months in our opinion," writes Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, who points out "any regulatory and/or production issues out of Gigafactory 3 would be

Aug 31, 2020

IRS Extends Tax Due Dates for Hurricane Laura Victims
Victims of Hurricane Laura will have until December 31, 2020, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

SEE MORE Tax Relief for Hurricane, Wildfire, Flood and Other Natural Disaster Victims The tax relief is available for taxpayers in any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for individual assistance. Currently, this includes Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, and Vernon parishes in Louisiana. However, taxpayers in places added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. (Check the IRS disaster relief page for updated lists of eligible localities.)

The IRS will also work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose tax records are in the disaster area. Call the IRS at 866-562-5227 if you face this situation.

Deadlines Extended The deadlines that are extended include the October 15, 2020, personal income tax return filing deadline for people who had a valid extension to file their 2019 return. (Note, however, that because tax payments related to these 2019 returns were due on July 15, 2020, those payments are not eligible for this relief.) Businesses with income tax filing extensions also have additional time, including calendar-year corporations whose 2019 extensions run out on October 15, 2020.

SEE MORE The Most Expensive Natural Disasters in U.S. History The end-of-the-year deadline also applies to quarterly

Aug 31, 2020

Dow Stocks: The Pros' Third-Quarter Rankings
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has a new look.

In its biggest shakeup in years, the elite index of 30 blue-chip stocks swapped out three of its components for new mega-cap names. And this reconstituted group of Dow Jones stocks began trading on Aug. 31.

It's not unusual for the keepers of the Dow - S&P Dow Jones Indices - to change the average's makeup. One-off changes over the past few years include Apple's (AAPL) replacement of AT&T (T) in 2015, and Walgreens Boots Alliance's (WBA) replacement of General Electric (GE) in 2018.

But the latest change is the largest multi-component swap since 2013, when Goldman Sachs (GS), Nike (NKE) and Visa (V) replaced Alcoa (AA), Bank of America (BAC) and Hewlett-Packard.

With the blue-

Aug 31, 2020

How Workers Face Double Taxation Under Trump's Payroll Tax Break
You might be getting a bigger paycheck for the rest of 2020, thanks to President Trump's executive order deferring payroll taxes. Starting September 1, your employer doesn't have to withhold the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax from your paycheck if you earn $4,000 or less for a bi-weekly pay period (or less than an equivalent amount if you're paid weekly, monthly, or on some other schedule). This payroll tax break runs through the end of 2020. If your company participates in the program (it isn't required to), you can get a boost of up to $248 in each bi-weekly paycheck during the last four months of the year. That can add up to as much as $2,232 more in your pocket for 2020.

SEE MORE What Trump's Payroll Tax Cut Will Mean for You But there's a catch - you'll be taxed twice during the first four months of 2021 to pay that money back. Although President Trump wanted a payroll tax cut for 2020, the best he could get without Congressional action is a payroll tax deferral. In other words, he can temporarily suspend your employer's obligation to collect (through withholding) and pay the Social Security tax, but he can't make the tax debt go away completely all by himself.

According to the IRS says, any business that defers collection and payment of Social Security payroll taxes in 2020 will have to collect the deferred taxes from their workers' paychecks ratably from January 1 to April 30, 2021. So, during the first four months of 2021, you could have 12.4% (rather than 6.2%) withheld from your paychecks to make up for taxes that weren't collected in 2020.

What If You're Not Working in 2021 There are still unanswered questions, though. For example, what if your employer defers payroll taxes in 2020, but then you switch jobs early in 2021. Does your former employer pay

Aug 31, 2020

Facing Financial Firsts in the Wake Of COVID-19
Many millennials are now faced with new realities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. With one in five recently put out of work, when it comes to finances there is a growing feeling of hopelessness for many.

SEE MORE The Coronavirus at Work: Your Legal Questions Answered These unprecedented times have led to many firsts for millennials, including changes to how they are investing, job changes, changing prospects for buying a home and — a big first for most — moves toward selling their stock compensation.

Investing Shifts Investing, unfortunately, is often punctuated by fear, especially during a recession. A recent Think Advisor survey revealed heightened anxiety among millennials about investing during the pandemic. The survey found that this anxiety caused some to change their investment strategies, including "31% [who] moved to more conservative investments and cash and 15% [who] moved to more aggressive strategies."

However, while it may be scary during these uncertain times, try not to panic as you consider your investment strategy. It is important to create a plan. For individuals with company stock, creating a plan involves identifying how this stock ties into your overall risk tolerance. This plan will help evaluate how these investments connect to funding your other financial goals.

Emotionally, it's easy to become attached to your investments, especially when it's the stock of a company that has treated you well as an employee. But the more you detach yourself from the emotional aspect of investing, the easier it will be to r

Aug 29, 2020

Deferred Payroll Taxes to Be Paid in 2021
President Trump recently issued an executive memorandum suspending the collection and payment of Social Security payroll taxes from September 1 until the end of the year for workers making less than $4,000 for any bi-weekly pay period (i.e., $2,000 per week, or $104,000 per year). The president's action doesn't eliminate the tax debt - it just delays withholding and payment of the tax. However, the memorandum didn't say when the tax had to be paid. But the IRS has answered that question.

SEE MORE What Trump's Payroll Tax Cut Will Mean for You Employers aren't required to halt withholding and payment of the tax. But if a business does comply with the president's order, it will have to collect the deferred taxes from their workers' paychecks ratably from January 1 to April 30, 2021. So, during the first four months of 2021, their employees will have double withholding from their paychecks for the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax.

If he wins the election on November 3, President Trump says he will push for the elimination of the deferred taxes so that workers will not have to pay them later. However, that will require Congressional action. Depending on the election results, that could be a very difficult thing to get.

As a result, if your employer stops withholding the payroll tax from your wages in 2020, you probably don't want to spend that money right away. Our advice is to put that money aside for the time being. While it's possible Congress will eliminate the tax debt, that doesn't appear to be likely. If there's no Congressional action, then the deferred taxes will be taken out of your paycheck during the first four months of 2021.


Aug 28, 2020

Help! I Can't Afford to Sell My Business
The process of selling a business involves fine-tuning every piece of its financials before marketing it and seeking a buyer. But even if everything seems in order, it may not be the right time to sell. Perhaps something — or rather, someone — isn't ready

SEE MORE Thinking of Selling Your Business? 2 Steps to Get the Best Price An important question to ask before you sell your business: Can you actually afford to do it? With a multimillion-dollar payday in the offing, the answer seems simple. But in all of the fine-tuning of the business, could you have neglected your personal finances to the point that a sale won't offer enough financial freedom?

Too frequently business owners sacrifice their own financial health or unknowingly tie it too close to their company, only realizing the situation upon the sale, creating anxiety as the regular income and safety of the business disappears. This begs two questions: Why can't some owners afford the sale of their business, and what are their options?

Question No. 1: Why can't some folks afford to sell? Let's say a 55-year-old owner is ready to sell their business for $5 million cash with additional rolled equity. They don't have an extravagant  lifestyle, spending $200,000 per year. The $5 million sales price seems like a reasonable amount to continue living their lifestyle, right?

SEE MORE Audit Alert: Why Business Owners Shouldn't Be Spooked by Captive Insurance But what if they're neglecting the fact that their car is owned by the business; their travel is taken care of by a company card; their health and life insurance were covered by the business; and countless other expenses are

Aug 28, 2020

Stock Market Today: Dow Turns Positive for 2020
The week closed on a fairly quiet session that saw the Dow finally punch its way back above the breakeven mark for 2020 for the first time since February.

The major news Friday was a Commerce Department consumer spending report that showed a 1.9% improvement in July. Not quite June's 6.2% gain, but still better than expected.

SEE MORE 7 Best Stocks to Buy Now for More Red-Hot Returns "However, spending could decline in the coming months in the absence of new fiscal stimulus, including enhanced unemployment benefits," Argus Research notes.

U.S. goods trade volumes also increased in July, with exports climbing 12.1%, the second consecutive monthly double-digit improvement.

"The surge in imports, in our view, bodes well for the outlook for business investment in coming months," write Barclays Investment Bank's Michael Gapen and Pooja Sriram. "In addition, changing household spending patterns and a shift toward consumer durables and away from services has led to strengthening goods imports and the widest goods deficit since late 2018."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6% to 28,653, finishing in positive territory year-to-date for the first time since Feb. 21. The blue-chip index is now up 0.5% on the year.

Other action in the stock market today:

The S&P 500 climbed 0.7% to an all-time high of 3,508.The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.6% to a record 11,695. The small-cap Russell 2000 improved by 0.9% to close at 1,578. Get Ready for a Busy Monday Friday might have been a snorer, but investors have plenty to look forward to come Monday. Tesla (

Aug 28, 2020

50 Top Stock Picks That Billionaires Loved in Q2
You can't get rich by simply copying a billionaire's every move. However, it's always interesting - and often constructive - to know what the "smart money" is up to.

The billionaires, hedge funds and big-time asset-management firms below all have fortunes of various sizes. And studying which stock picks they're chasing with their capital (or which stocks the billionaires are selling off, for that matter) isn't a half-bad idea.

There's a reason the rich get richer, after all. Their resources for research, as well as their intimate connections to insiders and others, can give them a unique insight into their stock picks.

Here are 50 top stock picks of the billionaire class from the second quarter of 2020. In each case, at least one billionaire - be it a person, hedge fund or advisory - has a substantial stake and/or added to its holdings. In most cases, these stocks are owned by multiple billionaire investors and billionaire investor firms. And while several of these investments are popular blue chips, others keep a much lower profile.

Either way, the smart money isn't kidding around with these stocks.

SEE MORE 20 Best Stocks to Buy for the New Bull Market Prices are as of Aug. 27. Data is courtesy of S&P Global Market Intelligence, WhaleWisdom.com and regulatory filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Stocks ranked in reverse order of their weight in the selected billionaire's equity portfolio.

Aug 28, 2020

The Next Threat to Oil Prices: Russia?
This spring, commodity traders and investors in energy stocks around the world looked on with astonishment at oil prices.

In April, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures went negative for the first time in history, hitting -$37.63 on April 20, shocking global markets. One day trader ended up incurring a $9 million paper loss, as quote screens at brokerage firms like Interactive Brokers, were not programmed to go below $0. (IBKR's issues resulted in a $113 million loss for the firm, Interactive Brokers CEO Thomas Peterffy said.)

SEE MORE 20 Best Stocks to Buy for the New Bull Market However, oil prices, like the broader stock market, did not stay depressed long; futures rebounded sharply, with West Texas Intermediate currently selling around $43 per barrel, and Brent (international) around $46 per barrel. Global demand is also normalizing at about 10% lower year-over-year, though the pace of recovery has been slower than the industry previously anticipated.

So what does this mean for investors in energy stocks?

Oil Prices Are at a Pivot Point for Global Producers The good news is that between OPEC production cuts and reduced U.S. output, the crude market is broadly balanced. 

The bad news: With Brent above $45 per barrel, OPEC might change course from a price-control strategy (production cuts) to a market-share strategy (pump more oil to keep U.S. producers from hedging forward). 

A second risk to oil prices is if American producers find a forward curve at $45 attractive enough to resume drilling. The forward curve allows a producer to sell his oil out into the future at an agreed-upon price deriv

Aug 28, 2020

SECURE Act: How it Can Affect Your Estate Planning
When Congress passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act — which took effect on Jan. 1, 2020 — it created a mixed bag of benefits and new requirements for Americans saving for retirement. The law was also a way for the government to get access to retirement savings sooner so that money could be taxed. Anyone hoping to actually be more secure needs to give those benefits and requirements a closer look.

SEE MORE 7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement The SECURE Act's main changes affected defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s, defined benefit pension plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 529 college savings accounts. Prior to passage of the SECURE Act, you had to start withdrawing funds from a traditional IRA by April 1 of the year after you turned age 70½. These annual withdrawals are called required minimum distributions (RMDs).

Good News about RMDs and IRA Contributions Some good news: The SECURE Act allows another year and a half before the RMD requirement kicks in, from 70½ then to age 72 now. So, when you turn 72, you have to start withdrawing money from your IRA or 401(k), and you have to pay income tax on the amount of those withdrawals. (Note: Thanks to the recent CARES Act, everyone gets to skip their RMDs this year. For more on that, please see Retirees Get Another Break with Expansion of RMD Waiver.)

Some more good news: The SECURE Act also removed the age limit for IRA contributions. You can now continue contributing to your IRA at any age as long as you are still working.

Also, eligibility for participating in a 401(k) plan was broadened to include certain part-time e

Aug 27, 2020

How to Handle Money Effectively as a Blended Family
In 40% of all new marriages, at least one person was previously married. Blended families come with unique financial dynamics that arise from merging families with different financial values, spending habits and money philosophies.

SEE MORE A Financial Crash Course for Those Getting Married Most likely the way you talk to your kids about money is probably different too. Even couples from similar financial backgrounds can have very different viewpoints on chores, allowances and savings plans. The money rules of one parent may not work for the other. Bridging these differences is critical to a healthy and successful marriage, and, ideally, it begins before you get married.

Time to Get Financially Naked Before even walking down the aisle, I always recommend that couples get "financially naked" with each other. Even after 20 years as a financial adviser, I am continually shocked by the number of people who don't know what's in their spouse's 401(k) before they get married. It is essential to understand what each person is bringing — or not bringing — to the marriage. This includes knowing each other's financial background and current situation, such as if they have credit card debt or student loans.

Finances can be even more challenging when one party is paying or receiving child support, as the payments vary as time goes on. Often the pot of money available to support the new family unit is reduced, requiring dollars to stretch further. Without sound long-term planning, that will be tough.

A Prenup Can Be Your Friend Clear communication is essential for any marriage, but especially so for a blended family. Starting off on the right financial foot means discuss

StocksBuy European Dow market Fears
StockMarket Today futures Buy Dow
Coronaviruscases latest CDC guidance rise
COVID-19concerns vaccine despite Trump markets
AmazonStocks Peloton connect Microsoft unveils
TrumpSupreme Court Biden nominee could
dealTikTok billion Oracle Walmart China
ChinaTrump TikTok deal coronavirus US-China
BusinessHow Pandemic During Owners Entrepreneur
PandemicDuring How Coronavirus toll Businesses

Top News (Business News)
Accounting Today
AdWeek News
Banking Business Review
Barron's This Week Magazine
Barron's Up and Down Wall Street Daily
Brad Ideas
Chicago Tribune Business News
CNBC Business
CNBC Economy
CNBC Finance
CNN/Money Real Estate News
Dismal.com: Analysis
Dismal.com: Indicators
Enterprise Application News
Forbes Headlines
Forbes Social Media News
FT.com - China, Economy & Trade
FT.com - Financial Markets
FT.com - Hedge Funds
FT.com - Telecoms
FT.com - US
Google Business News
Google Market News
HBS Working Knowledge
INSEAD Knowledge
International Tax Review
L.S. Starrett News
MarketWatch Breaking News
MarketWatch MarketPulse
McKinsey Quarterly
MSNBC.com: Business
Nielsen Trends
NonProfit Times
NPR Topics: Business
NYTimes Business
Private Equity Breaking News
Reuters Business
Reuters Company News
Reuters Money
SEC.gov Updates: News Digest
Tax Policy News
The Economist International News
The Motley Fool
USA Today Money
Wall Street Journal US Business
Wall Street Transcript
Washington Post Business
WSJ Asia
WSJ Europe
WSJ MoneyBeat
WSJ Opinion
WSJ World Markets
Yahoo Business
  • CEOExpress
  • 1 Boston Place | Suite 2600
    Boston MA 02108
  • 617 482 1200
    617 299 8649 (fax)
  • Contact
  • As an Amazon Associate
    CEOExpress earns from
    qualifying purchases.

©1999-2020 CEOExpress Company LLC