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Kiplinger
Nov 23, 2020

Stock Market Today: Stocks Start Another Week With a Vaccine Bump
The "rotation" trade returned once more after the market was greeted with COVID vaccine news for a third consecutive Monday.

The heroes today were AstraZeneca (AZN, -1.1%) and the University of Oxford, whose trial vaccine is far easier to store than other vaccines, which could make it easier to distribute across the globe. Trial data revealed an average efficacy of about 70% against COVID - lower than competitors Pfizer (PFE)/BioNTech (BNTX) and Moderna (MRNA), hence AZN's down day - but adjusting dosages could get efficacy up to 90%.

SEE MORE The 13 Best Healthcare Stocks to Buy for 2021 The news prompted a massive spike in cyclical sectors such as financial stocks, up 1.9% as a sector, as well as energy plays such as Exxon Mobil (XOM, 6.6%) and Chevron (CVX, 6.1%) as U.S. crude oil futures climbed 1.5% to $43.06 per barrel. Stocks also enjoyed a bump after learning that President-elect Joe Biden may nominate former Fed chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury

Kiplinger
Nov 23, 2020

15 Best Consumer Staples Stocks for 2021
Consumer staples stocks held up well in 2020, and for good reason. When the worst of the pandemic hit in March, Americans stocked up on toilet paper and bottled water, with social media full of pictures showing empty grocery store shelves.

As we look to 2021, however, investors should be more discerning about what stocks they're putting in their shopping carts. While the pandemic still is raging in many areas of the U.S., with record cases and serious strains on the healthcare system, there is also favorable news about research into vaccines that should give everyone hope that next year will be much better - for our health, for our economy and for our sanity.

That's not necessarily welcome news for every company that sells household necessities, however. If you're looking to reposition your cash in consumer staples, then, you may want to look beyond 2020's "stay-at-home trade" names that did well but might be running out of gas.

Here are 15 of the best consumer staples stocks for 2021. Each one has plenty to offer in the coming year, and isn't simply dependent on pandemic stockpiling to boost performance. Better still, Wall Street's analyst community rates each of these stocks a Buy or Strong Buy on average. Average analyst scores are listed for each stock; any score below 2.5 means that analysts, on average, rate the stock as being Buy-worthy. The closer a score gets to 1.0, the stronger the Buy recommendation.

SEE MORE Warren Buffett Stocks Ranked: The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Data is as of Nov. 22. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent payout and dividing by the share price. Analysts' opinions provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Stocks listed in reverse order of bullishness by the analyst community.

Kiplinger
Nov 23, 2020

30 Great Black Friday Deals and Doorbusters for the 2020 Holiday Season
Seasoned holiday shoppers know that things are a little different this year. Retailers began rolling out pre-Black Friday deals in October and haven't let up. From Amazon to Costco to Walmart, these big names have been offering discounts online and in-store that rival what you'd find the day after Thanksgiving. This has been especially helpful for the millions of consumers who've chosen to shop exclusively online this holiday season to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19. Starting November 23 and throughout the days immediately leading up to Black Friday, the bargains will only get better.

SEE MORE 47 Stores That Won't Be Open on Thanksgiving Day, 2020 Although many retailers are shuttering their doors on Thanksgiving Day, holiday shoppers can find many of the same doorbusters online -- unlike in years past. We've compared prices and  talked to trusted smart shopping experts to find out which Black Friday deals are worth your time and money. Take a look:

Amazon If you're looking for home goods, add the e-commerce giant to your list of retailers to shop at. No matter if you've got a neat freak on your gift-giving list or you're looking to step up your cleaning game around the house, don't miss out on the iRobot Roomba 981 Robot Vacuum (currently on sale for $399.99, marked down from $598 -- about 35% off). The vacuum cleans carpet and hardwood, is Alexa-compatible and connects to WiFi allowing you to operate it from your smart phone via an app.

If someone on your list has been perfecting his or her culinary

Kiplinger
Nov 23, 2020

Retirees, Declutter for a Profit
Nearly 40 million Americans over age 50, about 60% of that cohort, say they have too much stuff, according to a survey by University of Kansas professor David J. Ekerdt.

SEE MORE 38 Ways to Earn Extra Cash With a Cool Side Hustle "It's quite stressful," especially when you think about the possibility of moving, says Ekerdt, author of Downsizing: Confronting Our Possessions in Later Life (Columbia University Press, $26). "Almost every move in later life is going to be to smaller quarters."

Fortunately, a whole cottage industry has sprung up online to help you shed possessions and make a tidy profit in the process, but forget eBay. That's so 1990s. Today, most new selling sites work in connection with a smartphone app, and different apps are better for selling different things. For instance, Decluttr and NextWorth are great for selling electronics, whereas Mercari, ThredUp, Poshmark and The RealReal are better for clothes. 

To find the app that's best for you, check out the products and brands people are selling on the site. If the item you want to sell or something very similar is featured, you've probably found the right market. Be sure to understand the shipping fees, return policies and the cut the app takes from your sale. Try out the app to see how easy it is to use and list items for sale. Some sites do more of the work for you and others less.

"It's a question of time versus money," says Michelle Madhok, online shopping expert and CEO of SheFinds.com, a website that spots deals and fashion trends. When

Kiplinger
Nov 23, 2020

It's ITIN Renewal Time!
Now's the time to act if you have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) that expires in 2020—you need to renew your ITIN as soon as possible! (An ITIN is a tax ID number used by taxpayers who can't get a Social Security number.) More than 1 million taxpayers have ITINs expiring this year, so the IRS expects processing delays for people who wait. But you can get your ITIN renewed more quickly and avoid refund delays in 2021 by submitting your renewal application before the end of the year.

SEE MORE 11 Year-End Moves to Lower Your 2020 Tax Bill Any ITIN with middle digits 88 (e.g., 9NN-88-NNNN) expires in 2020, as does any ITIN not used on a tax return in the past three years. In addition, ITINs with middle digits 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98 or 99 that were assigned before 2013 and have not already been renewed will also expire at the end of the year. You can also renew ITINs with middle digits 70 through 87 that expired in 2016 to  2019 if you expect to have a filing requirement in 2021.

How to Renew Your ITIN To renew an ITIN, simply submit Form W-7 to the IRS. Don't forget to include all required ID and residency documents, though. Send either original documents or copies of documents certified by the issuing agency. If you're submitting a Form W-7 to renew your ITIN, you're not required to attach a federal tax return. Also note that the IRS no longer accepts passports that don't have a date of entry into the U.S. as a stand-alone identification document for dependents from a country other than Canada or Mexico or dependents of military members overseas.

Spouses and dependents only need to renew their ITIN if filing an individual tax return, or if they qualify for an allowable tax benefit (e.g., a dependent parent who qua

Kiplinger
Nov 23, 2020

How to Vote for Social Change with Your Investments
One of my clients with several million dollars in investments has a deep passion for protecting the environment. As a result, I've invested a part of her portfolio in companies with good records in environmental, social and governance practices.

SEE MORE 15 Best ESG Funds for Responsible Investors With social causes escalating to new heights in 2020, more investors want to know how they can align their investments with their values. They want to invest in companies committed to a variety of causes, ranging from racial equality to clean energy and those committed to proper corporate governance — meaning they focus on issues including fair compensation for all employees and diversity in the workforce, among others.

In response, more companies are upping their commitments to support these causes.  In early October, for example, JPMorgan Chase announced new long-term commitments to advance racial equity, committing an additional $30 billion over the next five years to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially Black and Latino communities.

Investment firm Blackstone Group, one of the world's largest owners of real estate, has set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 15% within the first three years of buying any asset or company across its portfolio. The initiative will begin in 2021 and will apply to new investments where Blackstone controls the energy systems.

What Is ESG, and Where Do You Start? ESG — or environmental, social and governance — investing is a growing field (an interchangeably used term is "Sociall

Kiplinger
Nov 23, 2020

I'm Not a Millionaire, But I Just Gave $250,000 to Morehouse College: Here's How (and Why)
If someone just told you they gifted $250,000 to their alma mater, what would you think? That they were just flexing? That they were worth millions? Or maybe even that they would be a great person to ask about making you a 100% "forgivable loan"!

When we hear these kinds of stories, we often think the person behind the philanthropy must be unspeakably rich and wealthy. But the truth is, it's easier and more affordable than you may think to make a significant planned gift to a worthy institution like Morehouse College — which is what I just did.

SEE MORE The Path to Making a Charitable Impact Although I'm not worth tens of millions (yet!), I'm very proud and excited to share that I'm that person who made a $250,000 planned gift to the college. And I'm telling you this not to brag, but to explain how you may be able to do the same.

As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™?, graduate of the Philanthropic Advisor Institute and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®, I want to provide the details that may help you align your own giving aspirations with your financial plan.

Start by giving from the heart When you give to charity, you should not look at what you can get back in return. Whether that benefit is in the form of tax relief, name recognition or simply better seats at a football game, this is something that I always caution individuals against as they make their decision to donate.

One big reason why is purely practical. Those benefits you angle for may not stay in place over time. Take the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) as an example. Before this law passed, the standard deduction for a single filer was $6,350. If all of your itemized deductions (which is where charitable deductions show up when

Kiplinger
Nov 21, 2020

10 Things to Be Thankful for in 2020
In 2020, more than ever, we all need this list. So, for just a moment, try to forget the pandemic, the political divide and the economic challenges that we continue to confront every day. Cozy up in your favorite seat, and embrace what's going right in the world -- and all the better things to come.

From Kiplinger to your family, have a safe and happy holiday season!

SEE MORE What Biden Will Do: 24 Policy Plays to Expect From the Next Administration

Kiplinger
Nov 21, 2020

Medicare Mania: Some Basics to Know During Open Enrollment
Medicare season 2020 is probably going to go down as the most confusing Medicare season in U.S. history.  I've been inundated with correspondence from people asking for guidance.  The Open Enrollment period ends on Dec. 7, so you still have some time to examine what is best for you.

SEE MORE Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know You are hearing a lot about Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) these days. Although they came on the scene in 1997, they now account for one-third of the Medicare market. In 2020, 24.1 million people out of 67.7 million Medicare beneficiaries overall are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans.

I think that the increase has been fueled by the messages that are broadcast via multiple media channels. This media blast is supported by companies selling Medicare Advantage Plans.  You, as the consumer, have to look at each of these closely, because benefits can vary for each plan.

A Simple Look at Medicare Simple and Medicare don't seem like words that go together, but I'll try.

There are several different parts of Medicare:

Part A This is provided by the federal government.  It helps pay for inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facilities (but not most long-term care), home health care, hospice and some other costs. There is a deductible for each new hospital or nursing home stay. This is important because if you are rehospitalized within 60 days, you don't need to pay another ded

Kiplinger
Nov 20, 2020

Stock Market Today: Market Slips as Federal Reserve, Treasury Squabble
The trading week ended on a low note Friday as investors digested a dispute between the Treasury and the Federal Reserve that broke late Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he wouldn't extend a number of emergency lending programs, prompting a rare public response from the Fed that they'd prefer those programs remain in place. The Fed found backing for its position on Wall Street.

SEE MORE The 13 Best Healthcare Stocks to Buy for 2021 "Although credit markets have been functioning well since they were introduced in the spring, removal would withdraw an important backstop that, in our view, was key to restoring financial market functioning," write a team of Barclays analysts. "The impact from the loss could be seen if there is another credit crunch, which could come into play if there is a substantial darkening of the outlook."

Meanwhile, states continued to roll out various COVID-related curfews and shutdowns as growing hospitalizations stress the nation's healthcare resources.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week with a 0.8% decline to 29,263 on Friday.

Other action in the stock market today:

The S&P 500 declined by 0.7% to 3,557.The Nasdaq held up a little better, losing 0.4% to 11,854. The small-cap Russell 2000 managed to eke out a 1-point gain to 1,785. U.S. oil futures gained a full 1.0% to reach $42.17 per barrel. Gold futures settled at $1,873 per ounce -- a 0.6% improvement. What to Do About Low-Wattage Yields As the market remains perched near all-time highs, divi

Kiplinger
Nov 20, 2020

11 High-Yield REITs to Buy for Big Income
Investors looking to bolster their income portfolios have long looked to dividend-friendly real estate investment trusts (REITs) to get the job done. But recently, the appeal of high-yield REITs has intensified, thanks to changes to conventional investing wisdom.

For more than a quarter century, the "4% rule" governed many investors' withdrawals from retirement savings. According to this rule, investors would have sufficient funds in their portfolio to last a lifetime if no more than 4% was withdrawn from the portfolio in year one of retirement, with the withdrawal rate in subsequent years increasing only as much as needed to keep pace with inflation. Dividend investors, then, could comply with the 4% rule and never need to touch their principal by building a portfolio that yields 4%.

Times change, however. Financial advisor Bill Bengen, who created the 4% rule, recently updated his advice in the October issue of Financial Advisor magazine. Bengen now thinks 5%, not 4%, is the right amount for retirees to withdraw annually in the current low inflation environment.

For dividend investors who want to preserve principle, that means designing a portfolio that yields 5%.

The problem? You might have noticed that stocks paying 5% in dividends are hard to come by, especially in today's richly valued stock market. But a good place to start is with REITs, whose above-average yields are largely a product of the REIT structure requiring the majority of taxable earnings to be paid as dividends.

Here are 11 high-yield REITs with a collective average yield of more than 5%. Some have been more battered than others by the pandemic, but all have solid balance sheets that are keeping them afloat as they weather the COVID-19 storm.

SEE MORE 25 Dividend Stocks the Analysts Love the Most

Kiplinger
Nov 20, 2020

When Only One Spouse Retires
When Gloria Strauss's husband Michael retired 17 years ago from his position as director of special education for a New York City school district, she remembers being very disappointed.

SEE MORE How to Be Happy (Not Bored!) in Retirement - Starting Today She was still working full-time, also as a special educator administrator.  "I expected him to step up his game when he retired, and he didn't," she says. "There were no nice healthy dinners waiting on the table. I would leave, and he was on the couch, and when I came back, he was on the couch."

Retirement in any form can upend a couple's relationship, but when both spouses used to work full-time and only one retires, that reconfiguration raises its own challenges and benefits. After talking to hundreds of people while researching her book, Miriam Goodman, author of Too Much Togetherness: Surviving Retirement as a Couple (Bonneville Books, $14.63), found that too often the working spouse's expectations for the retiring spouse—especially when it was the man who retired first—didn't match the reality.

"One woman in North Carolina, who was still working (to get employer-provided health insurance) because she was not yet 65 years old, hated her job," Goodman says. "She'd walk in the house, and her husband would be sitting around the pool drinking a martini and saying, ‘What's for dinner?'"

Generally, couples retire at the same time, says Kathryn A. Edwards, a Rand Corp. economist whose research includes retirement. She notes that the term "retirement" is much more elastic than people think. Sometimes, a spouse returns to work part time or full time after retiring, often cycling through various work arrangements before stopping permanently. 

Retirement also may be less of a cho

Kiplinger
Nov 20, 2020

Stimulus Check Deadline is Approaching Fast
There's an important stimulus check deadline coming up for certain people who haven't received a payment yet (or didn't get all they're entitled to). While most people who are eligible for a stimulus check already got up to $1,200, plus an extra $500 for each dependent child 16 years old or younger at the end of 2019, there are still many Americans (millions?) who haven't received a stimulus check yet because they (1) didn't file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return, and (2) didn't claim their check using the IRS's Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool. (Use our Stimulus Check Calculator to see how much you should get.)

SEE MORE The 10 Most Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class Families But time is running out if you're still waiting for a stimulus check. The IRS has set a deadline for claiming a payment - and the due date is approaching fast! In many cases, it's people with incomes that aren't high enough to trigger the tax return filing requirement that still need to claim their stimulus check. In other words, single people with income below $12,200 and married couples with income under $24,400. Some of these people may be homeless, which makes it more difficult for them to register online. Self-supporting college students also tend to fall wi

Kiplinger
Nov 20, 2020

Stimulus Check Deadline is Today
There's an important stimulus check deadline today for certain people who haven't received a payment yet (or didn't get all they're entitled to). While most people who are eligible for a stimulus check already got up to $1,200, plus an extra $500 for each dependent child 16 years old or younger at the end of 2019, there are still many Americans (millions?) who haven't received a stimulus check yet because they (1) didn't file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return, and (2) didn't claim their check using the IRS's Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool. (Use our Stimulus Check Calculator to see how much you should get.)

SEE MORE The 10 Most Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class Families But time is running out if you're still waiting for a stimulus check. The IRS's deadline for claiming a payment is today! In many cases, it's people with incomes that aren't high enough to trigger the tax return filing requirement that still need to claim their stimulus check. In other words, single people with income below $12,200 and married couples with income under $24,400. Some of these people may be homeless, which makes it more difficult for them to register online. Self-supporting college students also tend to fall within this group.

People receiving

Kiplinger
Nov 20, 2020

Getting to the Medicare Finish Line
The health and economic crisis is triggering a wave of early retirements as some older Americans are laid off or decide that the risk of catching COVID-19 at work isn't worth staying on the job. 

SEE MORE Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know An unexpected retirement brings plenty of financial headaches, and one of the biggest is finding affordable health insurance until you turn 65 and can qualify for Medicare. If you're in this situation or suspect a layoff is coming, there are ways to bridge the health coverage gap long enough to reach the Medicare finish line, but each has its pros and cons, including whether any pre-existing health conditions are covered. 

Tap Retiree Health Benefits Before Medicare Eligibility Although it's a disappearing perk, 28% of large companies, according to a 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation survey, still offer retiree health benefits to former employees. If your employer is among them, you may be able to remain on the company's group health plan with no interruption in coverage. The retiree health plan will serve as your primary insurance, covering pre-existing conditions, until you're eligible for Medicare, when the plan will function as secondary insurance to supplement Medicare. 

Don't assume your retiree health benefits are the same ones you received as an employee, cautions Steve Parrish, co-director of the Center for Retirement Income at the American College of Financial Services. "Employers may offer a different program with fewer benefits or with a higher premium for their retirees versus their employees

Kiplinger
Nov 20, 2020

Have Equity Compensation? Strategies to Handle Stock Market Volatility
If you're an investor in the stock market, it's likely that you have experience with volatility, which often can strike unexpectedly.  However, if you are the owner or recipient of equity compensation and employee stock options, you may not realize that volatility can have even more of an impact on your financial future.

SEE MORE Is the Stock Market a House of Cards?  A dramatic stock price change can quickly alter the value of your stock options and other equity compensation, whether positively or negatively. With careful planning, however, you can think through how market volatility should be managed to mitigate the threat to your stock options' value.

Don't Get too Wrapped Up in Day-to-Day Fluctuations Stock options and other types of equity compensation are tools companies use to attract recruits, inspire employees and boost retention. The hot stock market in recent years has added to their appeal.

Accordingly, your financial plan may have included plans to exercise your stock options (by buying shares of stock at a pre-determined price set by your option agreement) or selling the shares you already own, turning company stock into cash that can be used for other needs. It is only natural for increased volatility to cause you to re-evaluate your plans.

When things don't go well for your company stock, it's easy to become preoccupied with watching the stock price and grow concerned about short-term volatility and its impact on the value of your equity compensation. But remember that stock compensation is often a long-term deal. The Harvard Business Review reported that option grants have dramatically strengthened the link between pay and performance, besides encouraging recipients to adopt a longer-term perspective tow

Kiplinger
Nov 20, 2020

Joint Trusts or Separate Trusts: Advice for Married Couples
A revocable living trust is usually the best way to pass your assets to your heirs after you are gone.

Unlike a will, assets titled in a revocable living trust avoid both the time and expense of going through the probate courts and keep your financial affairs from becoming a matter of public record.

SEE MORE These 2 Words Could Send Your Retirement Money to the Wrong Beneficiary And like any good estate plan it can be used to plan for the possibility of your being incapacitated, reduce or avoid any death tax, make sure the right heirs get your assets after you‘re gone, and it does not change the tax treatment of your assets while you're alive.

Separate or Joint? A married couple has a choice of setting up either a joint trust or separate trusts. In situations where both spouses want the surviving spouse to inherit all the assets, which is often the case, a joint trust can be far less complicated to set up and maintain than separate trusts, with less headaches for the surviving spouse. However, there are situations where separate trusts will be a better choice.

Common Advantages of Separate Trusts Separate trusts may offer better protection from creditors, if this is a concern.  For example, at the death of the first spouse, the deceased spouse's trust becomes irrevocable, which makes it harder to access by creditors. And yet the surviving spouse can still access it for income and other needs.In cases where a spouse wants some or all of their assets to go to other heirs besides the surviving spouse, separate trusts may be a better solution. A common example is when one of the spouses has children from a previous marriage and they want to provide for their spouse, but also make sure their kids eventually receive th

Kiplinger
Nov 19, 2020

Stock Market Today: Flicker of Stimulus Hope Lifts Stocks
Stocks started Thursday the same way they ended Wednesday - weakly - but got a little pep in their step after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, has agreed to resume stimulus negotiations.

The market was spooked early by initial jobless claims, which actually increased by 31,000 to 742,000 during the week ended Nov. 14.

SEE MORE 10 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Buying (And 11 He's Selling) "The rise went against our and consensus expectations for a decline in claims and paints a picture of some loss in labor market momentum in mid-November," say Barclays Investment Bank's Michael Gapen and Jonathan Millar. But the pair adds, "Despite the increase in this week's initial claims data, the four-week moving average in initial claims fell to 742k, down from 756k in the prior week."

Meanwhile, America's coronavirus death toll surpassed 250,000, and 1 million new cases have been reported in the past week alone, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend against traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

That held back some of the value and cyclical areas of the market that had been advancing of late, and instead, tech led the day. The Nasdaq Composite closed 0.9% higher to 11,904, helped by gains from the likes of Fiserv (FISV, 4.7%) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, 3.6%).

Other action in the stock market today:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2% to 29,483.The S&P 500 improved by 0.4%

Kiplinger
Nov 19, 2020

The 13 Best Health Care Stocks to Buy for 2021
The most important healthcare story of 2020 was COVID-19, without a doubt. It was an event with few peers, and it challenged some parts of the sector while elevating others.

And in one way or another, COVID likely will have an impact on many of 2021's best healthcare stocks.

By mid-November 2020, the globe had suffered 57 million coronavirus cases causing nearly 1.4 million deaths. That includes 11.6 million cases here in the U.S. that have so far claimed the lives of 250,000 Americans. That's not to mention the additional adverse health effects the virus has had on millions of survivors.

Naturally, then, there are two types of healthcare companies that stand out as the biggest potential winners of 2021: companies that are able to produce a widely used vaccine or treatment for the virus, and resilient firms that held tough through the worst and can benefit from a gradual return to normalcy.

Here, we explore 13 of the best healthcare stocks to buy for 2021. Some of these picks are in the later stages of developing COVID products, while others sport business models that are designed to do well in most market conditions (but should enjoy a bump when the virus finally begins to recede).

SEE MORE Warren Buffett Stocks Ranked: The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Data is as of Nov. 18. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent payout and dividing by the share price. Analysts' opinions courtesy of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Kiplinger
Nov 19, 2020

The 13 Best Healthcare Stocks to Buy for 2021
The most important healthcare story of 2020 was COVID-19, without a doubt. It was an event with few peers, and it challenged some parts of the sector while elevating others.

And in one way or another, COVID likely will have an impact on many of 2021's best healthcare stocks.

By mid-November 2020, the globe had suffered 57 million coronavirus cases causing nearly 1.4 million deaths. That includes 11.6 million cases here in the U.S. that have so far claimed the lives of 250,000 Americans. That's not to mention the additional adverse health effects the virus has had on millions of survivors.

Naturally, then, there are two types of healthcare companies that stand out as the biggest potential winners of 2021: companies that are able to produce a widely used vaccine or treatment for the virus, and resilient firms that held tough through the worst and can benefit from a gradual return to normalcy.

Here, we explore 13 of the best healthcare stocks to buy for 2021. Some of these picks are in the later stages of developing COVID products, while others sport business models that are designed to do well in most market conditions (but should enjoy a bump when the virus finally begins to recede).

SEE MORE Warren Buffett Stocks Ranked: The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Data is as of Nov. 18. Dividend yields are calculated by annualizing the most recent payout and dividing by the share price. Analysts' opinions courtesy of S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Kiplinger
Nov 19, 2020

Will Congress Say Yes to a Second Stimulus Check?
People want to know if they're going to get a second stimulus check. At this point, it's uncertain if Congress will pass another stimulus bill while President Trump is still in office, or punt on the matter until presumptive President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in in late January. All sides - congressional Democrats and Republicans, and President Trump - say they want a deal. But the November elections failed to loosen the months-long standoff on what the overall price tag for another stimulus package should be, which is the biggest sticking point.

Odds of a Second Stimulus Check are Not Good Here's one thing you can be fairly certain of, though: If and when Congress reaches a deal, the bill is unlikely to include a second stimulus check provision. The roughly $2 trillion CARES Act passed this spring included money for direct payments to most taxpayers, but lawmakers don't have any appetite for an encore now. So, don't start planning how you're going to spend a second stimulus check quite yet.

McConnell is the Key Democrats are pushing for a bill in the neighborhood of $2 trillion, while Republicans want a measure costing half that much, or less. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said recently that, with unemployment numbers decreasing and the economy improving, there's no need for a multitrillion-dollar package. McConnell insists that any bill must be "highly targeted" to specific needs, particularly to help businesses. As long as his party retains control of the Senate next year, it'll be tough to get around him. Yet Democrats want a more broad-reaching measure, including money for local and state governments financially strained due to the pandemic. And, so far, no one appears ready or willing to budge.

SEE MORE Stimulus Check Deadline Extended So, how would Biden handle the issue if it slips to his watch? F

Kiplinger
Nov 19, 2020

What Biden Will Do: 24 Policy Plays to Expect From the Next Administration
After the various legal challenges play out, Joe Biden will almost certainly be president come Jan. 20, 2021, after ousting an incumbent for only the 11th time in American history. But what will Biden actually do?

(Editor's Note: This article was adapted from The Kiplinger Letter November 13, 2020 issue. Subscribe to the Letter today for concise, weekly forecasts on business, the economy, and investing, as well as what to expect from Washington.)

SEE MORE 17 States That Will Gain or Lose Electoral-College Votes After the 2020 Census If Donald Trump was a political outsider, Joe Biden is the ultimate D.C. insider, with a career in politics spanning five decades. He cut his teeth in an era when Washington was less politically polarized than it is now and working across the aisle was more common. Biden will at least try to be a dealmaker, a role he frequently played as vice president in the Obama administration -- to the chagrin of his more liberal Democratic colleagues. He'll have little choice with a GOP Senate serving as a check on the Democratic House. (We assume Democrats won't win both Senate seats in Ga., to be decided in a January 2021 runoff election -- the only way the party could control the Senate.) Not that that necessarily bothers Biden, who has consistently resisted calls from the left wing of his party to embrace buzzy progressive ideas, most notably Medicare for All.

Some issues where Biden could make common cause with Republicans: Coronavirus aid. Infrastructure. Higher education. Rural broadband.

The wild card: Biden's relationship with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), which goes back decades and has included many tough negotiations. For Biden to get any major legislation passed,

Kiplinger
Nov 19, 2020

Holiday Return Policies at 32 Leading Retailers
With 2020's holiday sales in full swing (several weeks earlier than usual, by the way), proactive shoppers who've already knocked out their gift-giving lists may be wondering exactly how long their gift recipients will have to return or exchange unwanted items. Fortunately, this year many retailers are extending their return windows: In many cases, as long as you have the original receipt -- or your gift recipient has the gift receipt -- you'll be eligible for a full refund on any unopened or unused items through January 2021. You may even have longer, depending on the retailer.

SEE MORE Spend Now, Cry Later: 16 Worst Gifts to Impulse Buy for the Holidays For those who've still got some shopping to do, we've rounded up details on return policies for big-box retailers and e-commerce sites to help you plan where to spend your money this holiday season. Take a look.

Amazon: Items shipped between October 1 and December 31, 2020, can be returned through January 31, 2021.

Apple: Items purchased at the Apple Online Store that are delivered between November 10 and December 25, 2020, can be returned through January 8, 2021.

Banana Republic: Shoppers may return items until 45 days from the date of purchase. 

Best Buy: Items purchased between October 13, 2020, and January 2, 2021, can be returned through January 16, 2021. This excludes items purchased with a third-party contract (i.e., smart phone

Kiplinger
Nov 19, 2020

Louisiana's Sales Tax Holiday for Hurricane and Pandemic Recovery is Underway
Attention all Louisiana shoppers! The state's newest sales tax holiday has begun. This one-time event takes place on November 20 and 21 in the Pelican State. It's designed to provide tax relief for Louisiana residents recovering from Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Delta, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEE MORE Spend Now, Cry Later: 16 Worst Gifts to Impulse Buy for the Holidays During the sales tax holiday, the state's 4.45% sales tax will not be charged on the first $2,500 of most consumer (not business) purchases. This is just in time for bargain hunters shopping for the holidays. Be aware, though, that motor vehicle sales and purchases of meals (either to eat-in or to-go) don't count and will still be charged sales tax.

The tax exemption generally applies to layaway sales and to purchases for products that won't be delivered until after November 21. Items purchased during the sales tax holiday period with "rain checks" also qualify for exemption, regardless of when the rain check is issued. However, a rain check issued during the exemption period doesn't qualify for the sales tax break if the item sold is actually purchased after November 21.

SEE MORE The 10 Most Tax-Friendly Sta

Kiplinger
Nov 19, 2020

Louisiana's Sales Tax Holiday for Hurricane and Pandemic Recovery Starts Soon
Attention all Louisiana shoppers! The state's newest sales tax holiday starts soon. This one-time event takes place on November 20 and 21 in the Pelican State. It's designed to provide tax relief for Louisiana residents recovering from Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Delta, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEE MORE Spend Now, Cry Later: 16 Worst Gifts to Impulse Buy for the Holidays During the sales tax holiday, the state's 4.45% sales tax will not be charged on the first $2,500 of most consumer (not business) purchases. This is just in time for bargain hunters shopping for the holidays. Be aware, though, that motor vehicle sales and purchases of meals (either to eat-in or to-go) don't count and will still be charged sales tax.

The tax exemption generally applies to layaway sales and to purchases for products that won't be delivered until after November 21. Items purchased during the sales tax holiday period with "rain checks" also qualify for exemption, regardless of when the rain check is issued. However, a rain check issued during the exemption period doesn't qualify for the sales tax break if the item sold is actually purchased after November 21.

SEE MORE The 10 Most Tax-Friendly S

Kiplinger
Nov 19, 2020

47 Stores That Won't Be Open on Thanksgiving Day, 2020
In recent years, even as some stores have expanded their Thanksgiving Day hours to capture anxious holiday shoppers, many other popular retailers have resisted peer pressure to open up on Thanksgiving Day, allowing staff to spend the holiday with family.

And in 2020, an even wider swath of retailers, including some big names that had in prior years leaned into Thanksgiving hours, have announced that they will not open on Thanksgiving Day. Take a look at 47 stores, listed alphabetically, that won't be open on Thanksgiving this year:

Academy Sports OutdoorsAce Hardware Barnes & Noble Bath & Body Works Bed Bath & Beyond Belk (re-opens at 7 a.m. on Black Friday) Best Buy (re-opens at 5 a.m. on Black Friday) BJ's Wholesale Club Boscov's Costco Crate & Barrel Dick's Sporting Goods Field & Stream  Foot Locker GameStop Gap Golf Galaxy Hobby Lobby Home Depot IKEA J.C. Penney Kohl's (re-opens at 5 a.m. on Black Friday) Lowe's Macy's Mark and Graham Marshalls Neiman Marcus Nordstrom Office Depot/OfficeMax Patagonia Petco PetSmart Pottery Barn REI (also closed on Black Friday) Rejuvenation Sam's Club Simon Property Group malls Staples Target The Container Store T.J. Maxx Ulta Under Armour Walmart (re-opens at 5 a.m. on Black Friday) West Elm Williams Sonoma World Market Of course, many of these retailers note that they're open 24/7 online. But if you are firmly holding on to your tradition of shopping bricks-and-mortar stores during the holidays, spend the time you used to use shopping late on Than

Kiplinger
Nov 19, 2020

How to Automate Your Savings in 6 Easy Steps
Finding it a challenge to set aside savings on a consistent basis? Or maybe you just want to simplify how you save for the future. Whatever your goals, today's digital tools make it easy to create and automate a personal savings program.

SEE MORE The Envelope Budget: How to Make It Work for You Automation can make a big difference in helping you build and grow your nest egg. Just like contributing to a company retirement plan, setting up a savings plan and sticking to it will reward you in the long run. Here's how to make it happen:  

1. Establish your objectives The first step is to establish what you're saving for and how much you'll need. It's much easier to put a plan into place that you can quantify. Do you want to save for a purchase or a vacation? Maybe you want to create an emergency fund. Set a target dollar amount and a timeframe to achieve this goal (or multiple goals). If you have any high-interest debt, consider whether extra savings should be allocated toward paying that off before putting those funds into your bank or investment accounts.

2. Create a designated savings account To get started with a plan, make sure you have an account set aside to put your savings into. If you only have a checking account at a bank, it's a great idea to establish a separate account for your savings plan — that way it's easier to track your progress. Utilizing mobile apps like Mint will help track your savings if you keep your accounts separate. Before opening an account, make sure your bank isn't going to charge unreasonable fees.

If you don't mind moving funds between banks, many online banks offer savings accounts with zero fees and very competitive interest rates. Websites like Kiplinger, with its

Kiplinger
Nov 19, 2020

Be a Budgeting Expert: How to Track Spending with a Detailed Budget
Although budgeting often evokes angst, it shouldn't.  Budgeting is a sign of freedom, putting you in the driver's seat on spending and saving decisions.

For those of you who find the Envelope Budget too simple, let's discuss the Detailed Budget method instead.  This method is a little more work, but it's great for those who want to dive more deeply into their finances than the Envelope Budget allows.

SEE MORE Good News: COVID-19's Social Distancing Seems to Cure FOMO Basically, this budgeting method consists of a spreadsheet you can download and fill out with numbers from your checkbook, pay stubs and tax returns. Don't worry: It sounds more complicated than it is, and we will walk you through each step.

First, go to the Redefining Family Wealth Resources page and download the appropriate sample budget in the Supplemental Resources section. The highlighted boxes are suggestions on which dollar amount to enter first for a given category. We are using the Married Template for this illustration, but you can download the Single Template instead.

Let's break this worksheet down into five parts.

Part 1 - Income Look at all income sources for you and your spouse (including employment, distributions from investment accounts, outside support, etc.) and list each one separately as a line item.  The annual column should be populated first. 

To be conservative, annual bonuses should be left off the income section.  These fluctuating payments will truly represent a bonus, because you can pay down debt or add to savings.  Just ensure you withhold taxes from this bonus as you do a

Kiplinger
Nov 18, 2020

Stock Market Today: Early Rally Collapses as Market Digests COVID Closures
Conflicting COVID developments kept the major indices grounded for a second straight session.

Pfizer (PFE, 0.8%) and BioNTech (BNTX, 4.0%) on Wednesday announced a complete set of trial data showing that their COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective (better than the 90%-plus efficacy reported from partial data last week). Later Wednesday, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin told CNN that the companies would file for an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday.

SEE MORE 5 Best Communication Services Stocks to Buy for 2021 That fueled market gains early on, but investors' focus shifted to America's escalating pandemic situation.

The U.S. set a new daily caseload record with 155,000 reported Tuesday, and yesterday's 1,707 deaths were the highest since May 14, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Municipalities nationwide have begun implementing curfews, closures and other measures, and a new stimulus bill remains far out of sight.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which began the day solidly higher, dipped into the close, finishing with an 1.2% decline to 29,438.

SEE MORE The 25 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In Other action in the stock market today:

The S&P 500 also dropped 1.2% to 3,567.The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.8% to 11,801. The Russell 2000 fell 1.3%

Kiplinger
Nov 18, 2020

5 Best Communication Services Stocks to Buy for 2021
Americans were forced to adopt a more virtual life in 2020, and this shift in behavior has boosted already growing demand for services ranging from broadband connectivity, wireless telecommunications and video streaming to food delivery and social networks, among others. These practices are expected to stay (and grow), and that's is great news for the market's best communication stocks.

The S&P 500 Communication Services sector has easily outperformed the broader index in 2020, boasting a total return (price plus dividends) of 19.5% through Nov. 16, versus 14.1% for the broader market. But there's potentially more upside to come in 2021.

The sector's media and entertainment companies are expected to find their footing as advertising revenues recover. Meanwhile, video streaming services are getting a lift from rising consumption at home. As for cable and phone companies, cord-cutting might continue to rise, but consumers still need a fast internet connection. That means fixed and wireless broadband providers are a good play because of their wide moat - setting up a communications network is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.

"The stay-at-home phenomenon and shift to a remote workforce amid the Covid-19 lockdown could foster some lasting changes in consumer behavior that could provide some tailwinds for broadband consumption," CFRA analyst Tuna Amobi says in a recent research note. Just be aware of the risks, too: "A global slowdown due to the pandemic could exacerbate some liquidity challenges, while a potential recovery could be significantly delayed amid a surge in Covid-19 cases."

Read on as we explore five of the best communication services stocks to buy for 2021.

SEE MORE Warren Buffett Stocks Ranked: The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Data is as of

Kiplinger
Nov 18, 2020

Captive Insurance for Pandemics? What Small Businesses Can Do
Lately everyone's a fortune teller, and they're reading the leaves of how industries will change after 2020 — from where people will work to what dining will look like to whether we should still use public gyms.

While most predictions are sensationalistic and may or may not come to fruition, there's one thing I'm sure will change for decades: how businesses think about and mitigate risk.

SEE MORE Tax Wrinkles for Work-at-Home Employees During COVID-19 Five years ago, if I asked a business owner whether they had insured themselves against the possibility of a once-in-a-century pandemic and the domino effect of government shutdowns, they probably would have laughed me out the door.

And now many businesses are dealing with the double-whammy of pandemic shutdowns combined with natural disasters, including the forest fires out West. Business owners are trying to focus on the future, keep their doors open and also grapple with the moving goal posts of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Private insurance vs. traditional insurance For many of these smaller businesses, traditional property or casualty insurance isn't the answer. Coverage is limited and it's too expensive.  This is where private insurance comes in. If implemented correctly, it is a viable strategy — but not for everyone and not without some caveats.

Private is similar to captive insurance, in which a business or group of businesses set up their own funds to cover risks that likely aren't covered by commercial insurers (such as pandemics). Both forms of insurance allow firms to keep funds they have set aside for claims but not used.  Captive insurance is slightly more complex in that firms create their own i

Kiplinger
Nov 18, 2020

The Envelope Budget: How to Make It Work for You
My last blog post, Don't Be a Budget Hater, discussed the surprising truth that not all budgets are bad.  They often have a negative connotation, but hopefully after reading the article, you see the benefits of budgeting.  Now we will dive into different types of budgets. 

One Size Doesn't Fit All People often assume that there is one budget that will work for everyone.  Unfortunately, that is not the case. 

SEE MORE Pandemic Budgeting: It's Time to Start Fresh There is no single, magic budget that will work for all families.  You may find one budget will work better than another — depending on your stage of life, level of debt, personal habits and your spouse's habits if you are married.  Your preferred budget could also evolve as you become more financially responsible.  If you parent a young adult, please share this article with them to enhance their financial readiness.

Before you start budgeting, it is important to revisit your values and goals.  Read this related article, 5 Steps to Reaching Family Goals.  Budgeting is a process, and it always comes with trade-offs.  If you value having a large house in a well-kept neighborhood for your growing family, you will likely have to compromise on entertainment costs.  Similarly, if your No. 1 goal this year is to pay off debt, you may have to forgo vacations and dining out.  Understanding your family values and goals is foundational to budgeting.

There are two primary types of budgets: The envelope budget and detailed budget.  Let's focus on the envelope budget today.

The Envelope Budget An envelope budget is the foundational budget often suggest

Kiplinger
Nov 17, 2020

Spend Now, Cry Later: 16 Worst Gifts to Impulse Buy for the Holidays
With retailers rolling out their holiday deals much earlier this year, you may feel compelled to splurge more than usual on gifts for loved ones (or yourself) right now. But not so fast. Every deal that's available right now and in the weeks to come isn't necessarily the best. In fact, depending on the item you're coveting, you might be able to snag it for much less immediately following the holidays or at another time of the year.

We've enlisted the help of several smart shopping experts to identify 16 product categories holiday shoppers should steer clear of this year. Take a look.

SEE MORE 7 Ways Holiday Shopping Will Be Different This Year

Kiplinger
Nov 17, 2020

Stock Market Today: Market's Spark Fades, But Fireworks Abound
The major indices followed Monday's raucous rally with a tamer, flatter Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.6% off its record high to 29,783, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped by a thin 0.2% to 11,899.

But the relative calm belied a number of exciting developments over the past 24 hours.

SEE MORE 14 Best Biotech Stocks for a Blockbuster 2021 One of the market's most anticipated initial public offerings (IPOs) is one step closer to happening, as vacation rental marketplace Airbnb filed its S-1 - an important precursor to an eventual offering.

And Tesla (TSLA, 8.2%) shot higher following Monday night's announcement that it would join the S&P 500 Index.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives called the development "a major feather in the cap for the Tesla bulls after much agonizing around not getting into the S&P 500 in early September." It's a complicated move, too - funds benchmarked to the index will have to make billions of dollars' worth of trades to get the requisite amount of Tesla exposure.

Other action in the stock market today:

The S&P 500 lost 0.5% to 3,609.The Russell 2000 continued to press into record territory, gaining 0.3% to 1,791. U.S. crude oil futures improved 0.3% to settle at $41.49 per barrel.

Kiplinger
Nov 17, 2020

Making Wise Choices During Open Enrollment
David Muhlbaum: It's time for an annual process about as important as your regular physical, and related, too. We're going to talk about open enrollment for health care benefits. What's new, what's different, what's exciting on the insurance front. Sandy and I will also talk about how the stock market is handling the election results, as well as the upcoming ski season. That's all ahead on this episode of Your Money's Worth. Stick around.

David Muhlbaum: Welcome to Your Money's Worth. I'm kiplinger.com senior editor, David Muhlbaum, joined by senior editor Sandy Block. Sandy, how are you?

Sandy Block: I'm good. I'm good, David.

David Muhlbaum: Good. Well, last week we kind of ducked talking about-

Sandy Block:Yes, we did.

David Muhlbaum: ... the 2020 election. That was because we didn't know the results of the presidential election as well as a number of other races. But now we know. Pretty much.

Sandy Block:Yeah. Not everyone agrees that Joe Biden is going to be the next president of the United States. One noteworthy exception being his predecessor and opponent in the race, the current president.

David Muhlbaum: Yeah. Yeah. It's quite something. However, it does seem like a pretty big constituency in the United States has concluded that Joe Biden will take office for sure in January. I'm not talking about the voters, I'm talking about the stock market. I mean, I know the market didn't vote for one candidate or the other., and it's highly debatable which one it preferred, but Mr. Market seems to like the outcome.

Sandy Block: Yeah. Mr. Market likes clear outcomes. Mr. Market does not like uncertainty. And the strong performance of the stock market in the last week is, to some extent, a verdict on the election that says we have a known presi

Kiplinger
Nov 17, 2020

Some College Students Can Still Get a Stimulus Check
Anyone who can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return (whether or not they're actually claimed as a dependent), is not eligible to receive a $1,200 stimulus check this year. That includes college students who are 23 or younger at the end of the year who don't pay at least half of their own expenses. Those students are out of luck.

SEE MORE File the FAFSA Now: Urgent Reasons for Families to File Early in 2020 for College Aid But what about self-supporting college students? By definition, they can't be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return. So, despite what they may have heard about college students in general not being eligible for a stimulus check, self-supporting students can receive a check.

Normally, a self-supporting student will get a $1,200 stimulus check if they're single or $2,400 if they're married and file a joint return. Plus, if they have dependent children, they'll typically get an extra $500 for each qualifying child. (Use our Stimulus Check Calculator to determine how much you'll get.) That kind of money can pay for a lot of text books!

The problem is that many self-supporting college students don't file a tax return because their income isn't high enough to require one. (For 2019 returns, single people with income below $12,200 and married couples with income under $24,400 weren't required to file.) If you didn't file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, you won't get a stimulus check automatically. That's because the IRS needs information from a recent tax return to calcula

Kiplinger
Nov 17, 2020

The Airbnb IPO: Should You Buy ABNB?
Airbnb's long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) is finally coming into focus.

On Monday, the vacation rental company filed its S-1, the required registration paperwork for U.S.-based companies looking to go public. That seems to indicate the market will get an Airbnb IPO in December.

SEE MORE 7 Small-Cap Tech Stocks That Pack a Punch The vacation rental company's offering is expected to be one of the hottest IPOs of the year, with many investors having waited years to get involved with one of travel's biggest names.

Read on as we tackle everything you need to know, including the expected Airbnb IPO date, potential bullish catalysts and remaining hurdles.

Airbnb IPO: Quick Details About the company: Airbnb is an online marketplace for lodging, primarily used by people renting out their homes. Airbnb says it has more than 4 million hosts offering a wide range of experiences, from private single rooms in city downtowns to entire luxury villas on exotic islands. These stays are highly flexible, too, lasting anywhere between one day to several months.IPO date (est.): Early December 2020 (We will update this when a specific date is announced.) Valuation (est.): $30 billion-plus Fundraise amount (est.): $3 billion Airbnb ticker: ABNB Exchange: Nasdaq Primary underwriters: Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs The IPO That Almost Wasn't The Airbnb IPO should cap an incredible turnaro

Kiplinger
Nov 17, 2020

Tesla (TSLA) Sneaks Into the S&P 500
From the Department of What Took Them So Long, we learned late Monday that Tesla (TSLA, $408.09) will be added to the S&P 500 Index in December.

And it's going to be a lot for the market to swallow.

SEE MORE 5 EV Stocks Every Investor Should Know With a market value of more than $400 billion, Tesla is going to roil trading in index funds, as billions of dollars are reallocated to reflect the electric vehicle and storage maker's weight in the index.

Funds indexed to the S&P 500 will have to sell about $151 billion in shares in other S&P 500 companies and use those funds to buy TSLA stock. When the inclusion is settled, Tesla will account for about 1% of the S&P 500 and be among the top 10 most influential stocks in the market-cap weighted broad market index.

"(Tesla) will be one of the largest weight additions to the S&P 500 in the last decade, and consequently will generate one of the largest funding trades in S&P 500 history," S&P Dow Jones Indices said.

To that end, Standard & Poor's has said it is weighing conducting Tesla's inclusion in two tranches to help the market digest the enormous move.

Wall Street Cheers Tesla's S&P 500 Inclusion TSLA stock would join the S&P 500 prior to the opening of trading on Dec. 21, S&P Dow Jones Indices says.

SEE MORE 15 Best Stocks to Buy for the Joe Biden Presidency

Kiplinger
Nov 17, 2020

What the New President Means for Your Money
Some of President-Elect Joe Biden's most ambitious proposals could be sidetracked by a divided government. But Biden can use his executive powers to modify regulations on everything from Wall Street to student loans.

SEE MORE Big Changes Likely for Social Security, Medicare Under a Biden Presidency Control of the Senate is up in the air until early January, as two runoffs in Georgia will determine whether Republicans maintain the majority. If the Senate remains in Republican hands, Biden's plans to raise taxes on high earners are unlikely to go anywhere.

Biden may have better luck expanding the child tax credit, currently $2,000 per child for married couples with up to $400,000 in income. Biden has proposed expanding the credit to $3,000 per child for children up to age 17 and $3,600 for children 5 and younger. That proposal has support among some Republican senators, who view it as a way to help families who are struggling to pay for child care during the pandemic, which has closed many schools.

Regulatory changes. Biden has signaled a willingness to toughen regulation of the financial services industry by appointing Gary Gensler, a former Obama administration official, to his transition team. As head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gensler led an overhaul of how the government regulated financial derivatives, which were blamed for fueling the collapse of some Wall Street firms in 2008.

SEE MORE

Kiplinger
Nov 17, 2020

Worried about Money Because of COVID-19? 5 Tips for Millennials
The financial fallout from COVID-19 has had an outsized impact on Millennials. In fact, a survey by the Pew Research Center found that 32% of younger Americans said the COVID-19 pandemic was a bigger threat to their finances than to their health. 

According to our own upcoming  Advisor Authority study of more than 2,500 advisers, financial professionals and individual investors, during the pandemic Millennials have been the generation that is far more likely to take a pay cut, be laid off from a job and take on added responsibilities as a caregiver for a family member or friend.

SEE MORE Dear Millennials, Learn from Boomers' Massive Money Mistakes Millennials have already faced their share of financial challenges. Coming of age during the Crash of 2008 and the Great Recession, saddled with more student loan debt than any other generation, many Millennials have been forced to put important life decisions on hold — from buying a first home to starting a family. Now, facing another "once-in-a-lifetime" financial challenge brought on by the pandemic, 84% of Millennials say they could do all the right things to manage their finances, and still be blindsided by outside events.

If you're a Millennial, the struggle is real — and so are your fears. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and time is on your side. Here are five tips to help Millennials manage their finances during the pandemic.

Tip #1. It's All in the Search: Find a Financial Professional For many Millennials, the pandemic has been a financial wake-up call. According to a COVID-19

Kiplinger
Nov 17, 2020

11 Year-End Moves to Lower Your 2020 Tax Bill
It looks like Republicans will continue to control the U.S. Senate for at least two more years, which means President-Elect Joe Biden probably won't get to implement his tax plan next year. That also means business as usual when it comes to year-end tax moves. '

Financial decisions you make between now and the end of the year can have a significant effect on how much tax you have to pay next April. This is particularly true if you're saving for retirement, itemize deductions, or hold investments outside a retirement account.

SEE MORE Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year But time is running short. It will be too late to cut your tax bill using most of the tips we've assembled below after we ring in the new year. So check out our list right away and get cracking!



Kiplinger
Nov 17, 2020

Don't Be a Budget Hater
When you hear the word "budget," what comes to mind? 

It doesn't exactly have a positive connotation.

So why does the word "budget" evoke feelings of dread and regret?

It implies two things:

1.      You must know exactly how much you are spending in a given month.

2.      You need to develop a plan to decrease that spending. 

The second implication isn't always true.  While there may be some shifting (or re-prioritization) of certain line items on the budget, it's only to keep spending in alignment with your family values —  the overarching goal of any good budget.

SEE MORE Debt After Death: What You Should Know At a prior employer, we spent a great deal of time trying to disguise the word "budget" and put friendlier alternatives in its place: cash flow management or financial independence analysis.  Whatever your nomenclature, let's challenge the traditional way that you view a budget.

Budgeting as a Tool A budget is not evil.  Rather, it is a tool that creates awareness of your current spending and saving patterns.  A budget is a starting point to craft a concrete financial plan.  Since life is not static, financial goals change over time.   Recognize that your financial aspirations should also be tied to life priorities. 

There are seasons of life where you may be more focused on yourself than others.  You may want to attend expensive concerts, dine at fine restaurants and travel extensively. 

When you have kids to feed and larger bills to pay, conservation takes precedence.  Your indulgences as a single person will fall away, and you'll be focused on financially providing for the entire family.

Creating a cohesive family budget will take time and energy.  As income rises, you have the luxury to prioritize experiences, tangible items, or a

Kiplinger
Nov 16, 2020

10 Stocks Warren Buffet Is Buying (And 11 He's Selling)
The stock market came roaring back during the third quarter, and Warren Buffett busied himself by adding and selling a number of stakes in Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.B) portfolio.

The most notable theme of the three months ended Sept. 30 was the continuing saga of Berkshire's shrinking bank stocks. Buffett has been cutting the holding company's position in banks for multiple quarters, but he really doubled down in Q3. In just about every other case, the selling was just the trimming of a position, although Buffett did dump one stock in its entirety.

Most interesting, as always, is what Warren Buffett was buying. With the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the world, perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that Berkshire Hathaway added a handful of pharmaceutical stocks to its portfolio. Buffett also picked up a telecommunications company and a rare initial public offering (IPO).

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

When Buffett starts a new stake in some company, or adds to an existing one, investors read into that as a vote of confidence. But if he pares his holdings in a stock, it can spark investors to rethink their own investments.

Here's the scorecard for what Warren Buffett was buying and selling during the third quarter of 2020, based on the most recent 13F that the company filed on Nov. 16. And remember: No

Kiplinger
Nov 16, 2020

10 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Buying (And 11 He's Selling)
The stock market came roaring back during the third quarter, and Warren Buffett busied himself by adding and selling a number of stakes in Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.B) portfolio.

The most notable theme of the three months ended Sept. 30 was the continuing saga of Berkshire's shrinking bank stocks. Buffett has been cutting the holding company's position in banks for multiple quarters, but he really doubled down in Q3. In just about every other case, the selling was just the trimming of a position, although Buffett did dump one stock in its entirety.

Most interesting, as always, is what Warren Buffett was buying. With the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the world, perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that Berkshire Hathaway added a handful of pharmaceutical stocks to its portfolio. Buffett also picked up a telecommunications company and a rare initial public offering (IPO).

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

When Buffett starts a new stake in some company, or adds to an existing one, investors read into that as a vote of confidence. But if he pares his holdings in a stock, it can spark investors to rethink their own investments.

Here's the scorecard for what Warren Buffett was buying and selling during the third quarter of 2020, based on the most recent 13F that the company filed on Nov. 16. And remember: No

Kiplinger
Nov 16, 2020

Stock Market Today: Dow 30,000 in Sight After Another Vaccine Rally
Don't dismiss that feeling of déjà vu. Today's market action was absolutely similar to last Monday's vaccine-fueled rally. This time, however, it wasn't Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX), but Moderna (MRNA, 9.6%) releasing good news about its trial candidate.

Early data suggests Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine is 94.5% effective, which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-diseases official, called "truly outstanding."

SEE MORE 25 Dividend Stocks the Analysts Love the Most Better still, Moderna's vaccine can be stored for 30 days between 36 to 46 degree Fahrenheit (about what you'd find in a refrigerator), and for six months at -4 degrees. That's much more forgiving for storage and transportation purposes than Pfizer's vaccine, which must be kept at -94 degrees.

"Last week's Pfizer news was great, but today's Moderna vaccine news is even better," says Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial. "Being able to store the vaccine in a standard fridge for up to a month makes transportation and usability so much easier. Yes, new cases and hospitalizations are soaring, but we are inching closer to ending this pandemic."

And just like last week, investors gobbled up airlines, cruise lines and other COVID-battered stocks whose fates are tethered to vaccine succes

Kiplinger
Nov 16, 2020

14 Best Biotech Stocks for a Blockbuster 2021
Biotech stocks have been all the rage in 2020 as a number of companies have aspired to correct the COVID-19 pandemic.

But then, biotech and biopharmaceutical companies been all the rage for much of the past few decades.

The trend started within just a couple of months 40 years ago this fall. StatNews, which covers the industry, cites four events within two months as vital:

First came 1980's Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Half went to Paul Berg at Stanford for his then-controversial work on recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The prize effectively conferred a blessing.Second was the initial public offering of Genentech, the first true biotech stock, which proved there was money to be made int his field. Then came the Stevenson-Wydler Innovation Act, encouraging federal labs to share and promote research with commercial potential. Finally came U.S. Patent No. 4237224, given to Stanford, which developed a basic method for recombining genes. Modern biotech begins with DNA, first discovered in the 1950s, and the chemical interactions it induces to create life. Biochemists today work to design drugs that inhibit or activate enzymes driving biological processes.  

Many of the largest drug companies are now being reorganized around these opportunities, whether through internal research, buyouts and/or partnerships. Giant, pure biotech stocks have emerged to pursue them, too. Scientists with promising research also have launched companies sometimes worth billions of dollars before they even have a treatment on the market.

Here, we'll look at 14 of the best biotech and biopharma stocks to buy for 2021. We'll divide these opportunities into three buckets: 1.) Big Pharma stocks that are undergoing (or have undergone) shifts to become more biotech-minded; 2.) large

Kiplinger
Nov 16, 2020

Flying Solo: 5 Financial Strategies Every Single Woman Should Know
Have you ever thought "I'm single. Do I need to do anything differently with my finances?"

Do you feel the pressure or weight of managing your finances on your own?Are you concerned about having enough money to take care of yourself? Are you too busy or just haven't gotten around to thinking about the "big picture" of your finances? You are not alone. Today, there are more women living independently now than ever before in the U.S. In fact, the Pew Research Center (2016) reported that 69% of women are living without a spouse. Moreover, at some point in their lifetime, women will find themselves on their own, which means they will be the sole financial decision-maker for their household (CNBC, 2018).

SEE MORE Being a Woman Cost Me $2 Million, But Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stood Up for Me These trends, which do not appear to be reversing, make it clear that single women face special challenges when planning for the future. So, if you have never been married, are divorced, or have lost a spouse, it's imperative that you plan ahead for your personal and financial security. What follows are a few key strategies to help you safeguard your financial future and ultimately provide peace of mind.

No. 1: Give yourself a Cash Cushion For many, it's not a matter of whether you'll find yourself in need of an emergency fund, but when. The general rule of thumb for an emergency account is to save somewhere between three and six months' worth of take-home pay. However, I recommend six to nine mon

Kiplinger
Nov 16, 2020

Millennials Are Financially Jinxed, but Time Is on Their Side
We Millennials have had a rough go. Despite being the most financially responsible and educated generation, our employment and income have not really kept up with expectations - ultimately making us one of the unluckiest. What gives?

SEE MORE Dear Millennials, Learn from Boomers' Massive Money Mistakes For starters, many of us began adulthood in the aftermath of the Great Recession. And now, we're grappling with the COVID-19 recession, too. With this history of bad economic luck, many Millennials are simply focused on basic financial survival - navigating the tightening labor market, paying down debt and keeping bill payments on time. However, despite the challenges from repeat rounds of tough times, it's still important for Millennials to keep retirement savings in their sights.

Don't Be Afraid of the Stock Market After living through two major stock market crashes, many Millennials are leery of "throwing money away"' by investing in the stock market. In 2019, BlackRock found that 65% of Millennials' wealth was held in cash - the highest of any living generation. That's bad news for growing long-term wealth, as cash tends to get very low returns - in fact, savings accounts can regularly lose value in real dollars!

SEE MORE

Kiplinger
Nov 16, 2020

How to Not Financially Paralyze Your Children
There is an old saying: "The more you give your children, the more you take away."

Today's story began with an email from a hard-charging, financially very successful, real estate broker  named "Steve" and his wife, "Cindy," a stay-at-home mom.

SEE MORE For Financially Responsible Kids, Do NOT Do These 3 Things "Our personalities are quite different. Cindy is quiet and non-assertive, while I am the bull in a china shop," Steve wrote, adding, "Our three children - ages 7, 19 and 23 - have her personality. I do not blame them for that, it is just the way they are."

The Road to Financial Enabling Began Early "The kids have been raised in affluence, especially the two older ones. An expensive car at age 16, credit cards, given plenty of cash, and sadly, they became lazy. We bought a condo for our 23-year-old son, and provide a large monthly allowance for him and his 19-year-old sister, neither of whom has the drive to succeed that we did."

The email ended with this plea: "We do not want this to happen to our youngest child. What can we do? We need advice. How can we put them all on a road to self-sufficiency, and avoid further financially enabling and making them dependent? We now see how money can be a curse."

Teach Young Children 4 Financial Goals at a Young Age I ran these questions by Southern California-based financial counselor Scott Thor, who complimented the couple for addressing the problem now with their 7-year-old.

"There are four key lessons children raised in affluent families need to learn," he points out. They are:

Understand about earning money. Instead of an allowance, put them on a commission, to get a sense of doing something to earn money for the work they have done.Help them realize how saving

Kiplinger
Nov 16, 2020

Kiplinger's Tax Map for Middle-Class Families: About Our Methodology
Our tax maps and related tax content include data from a wide range of sources. To generate our rankings, we created a metric to compare the tax burden for a hypothetical middle-class family in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Kiplinger Tax Map, 2019 ARTICLE: 10 Most Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class FamiliesARTICLE: 10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class Families MAP: State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Middle-Class Families RELATED: The Retiree Tax Map Data Sources: Income Taxes - Our income tax information comes from each state's tax agency. Income tax forms and instructions were also used. See more about how we calculated the income tax for our hypothetical family below under "Ranking method."

Property Taxes - The median property tax rate is based on the median property taxes paid and the median home value in each state for 2019 (the most recent year available). The data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sales Taxes - State sales tax rates are from each state's tax agency. We also cite the Tax Foundation's figure for average combined sales tax, which is a population-weighted average of state and local sales taxes. In states that let local governments add sales taxes, this gives an estimate of what most people in a given state actually

Kiplinger
Nov 16, 2020

The 10 Most Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class Families
Millions of American families move from one state to another each year. And, as you can imagine, there are many reasons why you might pull up stakes and relocate to a different state. You might move to start a new job, be closer to relatives, live in a warmer climate, or even - as a sign of the times - escape a coronavirus hotspot.

But no matter why you decide to pack your bags and move across state lines, do your homework first and check out the cost of living in your destination state. You'll want to look at the cost of housing, of course, but make sure you consider the impact of state and local taxes on your bottom line, too. As our State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Middle-Class Families shows, state tax rates for the average American family are literally all over the map — and the difference between living in a high-tax or a low-tax state can be thousands of dollars each year, depending on your family's tax situation.

To help you determine how big of a tax bite each state would take out of your hard-earned cash, we estimated the overall income, sales, and property tax burden in each state for a hypothetical married couple with two children, combined wages of $77,000, and $3,000 of other income. Based on our findings, we put together the following list of the 10 most tax-friendly states for middle-class families (the most-friendly state is listed at the end). If you're taking a job in another state, or relocating your family for other reasons, you'll want to check it out to see if your state taxes are likely to go up or down after the move.

SEE MORE The 10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class Families See the final slide for a complete d

Kiplinger
Nov 16, 2020

The 10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class Families
It's bad enough when Uncle Sam hits you with a big tax bill. But you really go through the roof when your state, county, or city follows that up by taking another huge chunk of your hard-earned cash. That's why people who are contemplating a move from one state to another need to do their homework before hiring a moving company. If you can help it, you don't want to end up in a state with higher taxes than the one you're in right now.

Moving from a low-tax state to a high-tax state can literally cost you thousands of dollars each year. If you want to prevent this, you need to know which states to avoid. And we can help with that.

To build our State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Middle-Class Families, Kiplinger editors estimated the overall income, sales, and property tax burden in each state for a hypothetical married couple with two children, combined wages of $77,000, $3,000 of other income, and a $300,000 home. That also allowed us to create the following list of the 10 least tax-friendly states for middle-class families (the least-friendly state is listed last). If you and your family are thinking of relocating to another state, make sure you check out the list first. It might make you think twice before packing your bags.

SEE MORE The 10 Most Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class Families See the final slide for a complete description of our ranking methodology and sources of information.

Kiplinger
Nov 16, 2020

Biden's Plan to Tax the Rich Faces Roadblocks
President-Elect Joe Biden has big plans for tax changes. He campaigned on tax increases for corporations and individuals making over $400,000, estate tax hikes, and tax cuts for lower- and moderate-income people. But he's unlikely to get much on his wish list, with the Democratic majority in the House narrowed and Republicans likely keeping control of the Senate. This means no tax hikes on the rich.

SEE MORE Will Joe Biden Raise YOUR Taxes? Some say the legislative path will be easier for Biden if both Georgia Senate runoff races in early January result in Democratic victories. But even if that occurs, Biden is expected to wait to propose tax increases. Priority number one is COVID-19. Plus, raising taxes before the economy fully recovers is risky. It would also be hard to get higher taxes approved in a deeply divided Senate.

There is one exception, though. You might see some targeted tax hikes in an infrastructure bill to help defray the cost.

Some Tax Changes are Possible The chances of tax cuts for lower- and middle-income Americans are somewhat better, especially if the economy's recovery continues to leave these people behind. Biden wants to expand the child and dependent care credit and refundable child credit, both of which have bipartisan support. He also hopes to create a new tax credit for people who provide long-term care to their elderly relatives and to give a new tax break to first-time homebuyers and renters.

Among items that have a decent shot of passage early in the Biden administration:

More stimulus, provided this doesn't pass during the lame-duck session;Expand

Kiplinger
Nov 15, 2020

Pass on Your Wealth Wisdom
I have a colleague who, at 30 years old, was able to get his family out from under student debt. Part of that success meant following a strict budget, with special funds for expense categories that reset each month. He tells the story of opening the garage door by hand, waiting for their "home fund" money to replenish. When the next month came, they bought a new garage door remote to replace a broken one.

Now, this isn't a dramatic example, but it does strike a vivid picture: a young newlywed breathing steam on a cold morning, committed to his family's financial well-being. The story is what his children (and colleagues!) will remember:  Financial health takes grit and determination, but it is possible and real everyday people do it.

SEE MORE Should I Start Gifting Money (or Even My House) to My Kids? My friend's kids won't know his debt-to-income ratio that year, but they will know the story about Dad opening the garage door and their parents celebrating paying off their debts. It's become part of the family mythology and wisdom tradition.

As money-smart people, it's our privilege — and many feel our duty — to take part in philanthropy. But I think there's also another dimension, what I call wealth responsibility: sharing what we've learned in building wealth through in-person relationships with people. It's on us not just to write checks and forget it, but to share (and model) the methods that got us there.

Americans Are Anxious about Money According to a recent survey, 77% of Americans are anxious about money. Maybe that comes as no surprise, because money is such an emotional topic, but think about it: We are the wealthiest country in the world, and three-fourths of us se

Kiplinger
Nov 14, 2020

With Private Loan Interest Rates So Low, Should You Refinance a Federal Student Loan?
As college costs continue to rise, the need for students and their parents to borrow money to get a college education has also increased. Americans now owe about $1.6 trillion in student debt, according to the Federal Reserve.

SEE MORE FAQs on CARES Act Relief for Student Loan Borrowers In general, there are two types of student loans: federal and private. Federal student loans are issued by the government, whereas private student loans may come from different nonfederal lenders, such as banks, schools or credit unions.

First: Are your student loans federal or private? Over the course of your studies, you may have taken out many loans. Since your repayment strategy may depend on the type of loans you have, it is important to take an inventory of all of your loans. If you have federal loans, you can create an account on studentaid.gov and log in to see your federal loans. To identify your private loans, you can get a free annual credit report from Equifax, TransUnion or Experian. Since both federal and private education loans appear on your credit report, any education loans you see on the credit report that are not listed on studentaid.gov are private student loans.

What are some examples of the terms you may see in private student loans? The terms of private student loans are set by the lender and, therefore, may vary greatly. The interest rate can be fixed or variable. Also, although most lenders realize that students do not have the means to make payments, some may require repayment anyway while you are still in school.

Generally, private loans are more expensive than federal loans and may require the borrower to h

Kiplinger
Nov 13, 2020

3 Good Reasons to Start Your Holiday Shopping Now -- If You Haven't Already
Retailers big and small have had to revamp their approaches to the holiday shopping experience due to the pandemic. They'll be catering more to online shoppers and offering Black Friday deals well in advance of November 27.

SEE MORE 7 Ways Holiday Shopping Will Be Different This Year Consumers, too, will need to adapt to win the 2020 holiday shopping season. To score the best deals, the old adage "the early bird gets the worm" applies. If you wait until the last minute, there's a strong chance you won't find important items on your gift-giving list.

The smart-shopping experts we regularly speak with are warning consumers not to hold out for better deals on Black Friday this year. Here are three good reasons to start your holiday shopping now:

In-Store Shopping on Black Friday (November 27) Will Be Inefficient, Maybe Even Impossible If you're used to store-hopping on Black Friday to knock out your gift list in one fell swoop, 2020 is the year to seriously consider shopping online. Brick-and-mortar retailers will be restricting the volume and movements of shoppers to limit the risk of spreading the coronavirus, says Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst for DealNews.com. Among the changes that will slow you down: one-way aisles and limits on the number of shoppers allowed in-store at a given time. So brace yourself for long lines and waits outside. 

SEE MORE 7 Ways to Save Money When Shopping Online At other stores, you may simply find the doors locked on Black Friday this year. For instance, selected Macy's locations will be closed to the public that day for use

Kiplinger
Nov 13, 2020

Stock Market Today: Dow, S&P 500 and Russell 2000 All Hit New Highs
Wall Street closed out the week on a positive note, and with a resumption of the rotation into value stocks we've discussed over the past few days.

Friday saw several major indices finish in record territory, including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which steadily rose throughout most of the day to finish 1.4% higher to 29,479.

SEE MORE 13 Hot Upcoming IPOs to Watch For in 2020 and 2021 Boeing (BA) got back into its early-week form with a robust 5.9% improvement. But it was Cisco Systems (CSCO, 7.1%) that led the Dow's 30 components after reporting better-than-expected revenues and profits while also providing hope that its four-quarter streak of revenue declines might soon come to an end.

"Some investors have expressed concern that Cisco risks becoming the IBM of several years ago, when that company masked a multi-year stream of quarterly revenue declines with share buybacks that artificially lifted EPS," says Argus Research analyst Jim Kelleher, who just reiterated his Buy rating on CSCO. "While IBM was being outflanked in new markets such as cloud, social and mobile, Cisco does not appear to be losing share; instead, its challenges mainly derive from pandemic-impacted demand."

"Cisco is also maintaining high pretax margins and continuing to generate strong free cash flows. The company is successfully shifting its mix away from hardware and toward an integrated software, hardware and services solution."

Kiplinger
Nov 13, 2020

Planning to Sell Your Home in Retirement? Downsize Costs Along With Space
Buck and Starla Harrison didn't plan to downsize from their suburban Seattle home of 32 years until they fell in love with the picturesque community of Edmonds, on the water north of Seattle. They looked at a few homes in Edmonds and realized they couldn't afford to buy there. After running what-if scenarios with their financial planner, they decided to rent.

SEE MORE 26 Things Home Buyers Will Hate About Your House The Harrisons sold their three-bedroom home in five days with one full-price offer of $600,000. After expenses, they walked away with $550,000. They created a reserve account with $24,000—about a year's worth of expenses—and invested the rest. The couple pays $2,850 in rent, $100 for utilities and $100 for renters insurance monthly for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a water view. 

In today's seller's market, buyers, like the Harrisons, who want to downsize face quite a hurdle. Home prices are high, and inventory is tight. In August, the national median home price hit $310,600, up 11.4% from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors. Currently, there's only about a three-month supply of existing homes for sale (four to six months is considered balanced between sellers and buyers). "The inventory of homes right now is like toilet tissue was this past spring," says Cindy Marsh-Tichy, a real estate agent in Punta Gorda, Fla. 

Bidding wars are common and it's easy to overpay, especially if you have cash from

Kiplinger
Nov 13, 2020

Who Should Consider a Roth IRA - and Why Now?
Since early this year, we've heard all sorts of ways to describe 2020: interesting, weird, unprecedented and so on. It has been a damaging and frustrating year globally. However, this year has presented some opportunities for certain investors to save and invest differently for the future, including opening the door for more people to consider a Roth IRA as part of their retirement savings strategy. This piece aims to get you thinking about some of the options available to you, depending on your specific situation. 

SEE MORE 6 Reasons You Should NOT Do a Roth Conversion Before we get started, a Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a retirement account in which a person contributes after-tax money. It has the benefit of having these savings grow tax-free; and when it's time to make withdrawals, those are also tax-free.

There are rules on when you can make withdrawals, along with some other exceptions to the tax-free treatment, but those particulars aren't the focus of this article. My focus is on setting out some of the factors you should consider when weighing whether 2020 is an opportune time for you to open a Roth IRA.

Here are some potential scenarios:

1. Your income has dropped, and you are in a much lower tax bracket than prior years. This might be a temporary situation, and you expect things to become more "normal" as we head into a new calendar year. The idea here is: Maybe you should consider funding a Roth IRA to save for retirement this year versus using a traditional IRA. With a traditional IRA, contributions are deducted against income on your tax return, deferring income tax on that money until you withdraw it in the future.

SEE MORE

Kiplinger
Nov 13, 2020

Oops! A Surprising Factor Retirees Forget to Plan for
You've saved, budgeted, worked with a financial adviser, managed your taxes, optimized your Social Security benefits, and checked off all the other major planning boxes. It might feel like the only thing left to do in your retirement planning is to actually retire. But there's one thing you probably forgot to account for in all your plans — and it's something that has nothing to do with your finances at all.

That crucial variable that you might forget to plug into all your retirement planning calculations and projections is not overly complicated, but missing it cause all that careful planning you've done for decades to go out the window. What is this mysterious X factor? It's change. Specifically, it's the fact that you change.

SEE MORE How to Be Happy (Not Bored!) in Retirement - Starting Today As Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert puts it, "Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they're finished." He goes further, saying, "The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you've ever been. The one constant in our lives is change."

Gilbert explains that we fail, over and over again, to understand how much we change thanks to the "end of history" illusion. This is the false belief that we consistently have throughout life that the person we are in the present moment is the person we were meant to be; we're finally done growing and learning and changing and we've arrived at who we truly are.

This is part of what makes this factor so difficult to account for when doing something like retirement planning; most people will believe that it's true for other people, but not for them! You woul

Kiplinger
Nov 12, 2020

Stock Market Today: COVID's Intensifying 'Second Wave' Knocks Stocks Back
The market's early-week euphoria over COVID vaccine progress has mostly run out amid more immediate-term worries about the virus itself.

The Washington Post reported late Wednesday that U.S. caseloads had spiked to yet another all-time high of 145,000. Hospitalizations eclipsed 65,000, and the daily death toll of 1,549 was the highest total since mid-May. New York City restaurants, bars and gyms face new restrictions starting Friday, and Chicago has announced a stay-at-home advisory starting Nov. 16.

SEE MORE The Best T. Rowe Price Funds for 401(k) Retirement Savers The most recent weekly unemployment claims declined from 757,000 to a still-elevated 709,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Kenny Polcari, managing partner of Kace Capital Advisors, adds that "rising COVID-19 cases nationwide and the possibility of additional lockdowns could threaten the jobs recovery we've seen over the past few months."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.1% to 29,080.

Other action in the stock market today:

The S&P 500 fell 1.0% to 3,537.The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fared a little better, declining 0.7% to 11,709. The small-cap Russell 2000 plunged 1.8% to 1,706. December gold contracts gained 0.6% to $1,873.30 per ounce. U.S. crude oil settled at $41.12 per barrel, a 0.8% decline. About That Value Rotation ... Is the "great rotation" into value dead, or merely on pause? Well, many analysts remain confident in a vaccine sparki

Kiplinger
Nov 12, 2020

7 Best Value Stocks for the 'Great Rotation'
Investors have been waiting for value stocks to catch up to growth stocks for a decade now, and some think they're seeing signs of the long-awaited rotation from pricey stocks to cheap ones.

Value stocks had a heady few days in the second week of November when they trounced some of the biggest growth names in the market. Investors sold the likes of Amazon.com (AMZN), Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) in favor of some of the market's sleepier names.

SEE MORE 7 Best Value ETFs to Buy for Bundled Bargains Whether the great rotation from growth to value is here to stay or not, it could still continue to affect share prices in the short to medium term. Goldman Sachs, for its part, recently gave clients a heads-up on the potential for rotation.

"The market might be poised for a temporary rotation out of growth stocks into stocks more sensitive to upcoming macroeconomic changes," Goldman Sachs writes. "Rising bond yields and improving economic growth can trigger these rotations, and Goldman expects both of these to occur in the next few months, especially if a vaccine for COVID-19 is announced."

These elevated expectations prompted us to find some of the market's best value stocks. To that end, we screened the Russell 1000 Value Index for stocks with market values of at least $50 billion. In keeping with the value theme, our stocks also had to trade at a discount to the S&P 500 by projected earnings. Lastly, they also had to be Buy-rated or better by the

Kiplinger
Nov 12, 2020

7 Best Value ETFs to Buy for Bundled Bargains
Value stocks might finally have their day - and that means great things for a host of long-maligned value exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Growth has been running up the score against value for more than a decade. However, after a string of underperformance that dates back to 2007, value might finally be poised to flip the script.

Headlines pointing toward progress on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments alike have sparked hope that America will continue its economic comeback. They're also looking like a potential catalyst for scores of stocks that were driven into deep value territory earlier in 2020.

"Positive vaccine news is a catalyst for value stocks," says Brandes Investment Partners analyst Brent Fredberg. "The news, paired with the near-record valuation gap between value and growth stocks, could bode well for a sustained, multi-year rotation toward value outperformance."

Indeed, value stocks have outperformed growth in every economic recovery since 1929, Fredberg adds.

While some investors might prefer to pick out individual value stocks, others looking to reduce their risk might want to consider value ETFs instead. Exchange-traded funds allow investors to tap into dozens, even hundreds of value-priced equities, typically at just a few dollars in management fees annually.

Read on as we examine seven of the best value ETFs you can buy.

SEE MORE Kip ETF 20: The Best Cheap ETFs You Can Buy Data is as of Nov. 11. Yields represent the trailing 12-month yield, which is a standard measure for equity funds.

Kiplinger
Nov 12, 2020

Social Security Basics: 12 Things You Must Know About Claiming and Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits
For many Americans, Social Security benefits are the bedrock of retirement income. Maximizing that stream of income is critical to funding your retirement dreams.

The rules for claiming Social Security benefits can be complex, but this guide will help you wade through the details. By educating yourself about Social Security, you can ensure that you claim the maximum amount to which you are entitled. Here are 12 essential details you need to know.

Your Social Security ‘Full Retirement Age' Plays a Big Role - Know It First things first: Determine your Social Security full retirement age. For people born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is 66. It gradually climbs toward 67 if your birthday falls between 1955 and 1959. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67.

You can claim your Social Security benefits a few years before or after your full retirement age, and your monthly benefit amount will vary as a result. More on that in a moment.
TOOL: Calculate Your Social Security Full Retirement Age

How Your Social Security Benefits Are Earned To be eligible for Social Security benefits in retirement, you must earn at least 40 "credits" throughout your career. You can earn as many as four credits a year, so it takes 10 years of work to qualify for Social Security.

In 2021, you must earn $1,470 to get one Social Security work credit and $5,880 to get the maximum four credits for the year.

How Your Social Security Benefits Are Calculated Your Social Security benefits are based on the 35 calendar years in which you earned the most money. If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, each year with no earnings will be factored in at

Kiplinger
Nov 12, 2020

The Best Gifting Strategy of Our Era
My son is 22 years old. He is a sweet guy, but not yet experienced with money.  As parents, we all want what is best for our kids.  We also want to ensure that they will be financially safe once we leave this world.  I believe we are all wired to provide a legacy plan for our spouse, children and favorite charitable causes.

SEE MORE With Estate Taxes on Sale Now, You Snooze, You Lose! This often creates a paradox in our legacy plan.  Our basic desire to leave resources to the next generation could also be the greatest obstacle to their development in life.  Put in another way, you can love your 15-year old son, and giving is a good thing, but I am sure nobody reading this article believes giving $200,000 to a 15-year-old boy would ever be a good thing!

Wouldn't we all love a way to leave a legacy to our kids that provided them cash flow in retirement?  Given current low interest rates, we would love to add growth and security to this investment plan.  Income and estate tax rates are likely to rise in the future due to the recent and ongoing increases in our national debt.  What if we could create an income strategy that was estate tax free, no matter what the future tax laws might be? 

Sounds like a utopia, but it is not.  We can currently achieve these objectives given a combination of factors. 

Being Tactful with Taxes Before we get into the opportunity, we need to face some facts.  After the big spend of World War I, top marginal income tax rates went from 7% to over 70%.  After World War II, they rose above 90% and stayed there for roughly 20 years; estate tax rates were almost as high.  And now in 2020, we are borrowing yet again at extremely high levels.  The highest marginal income and estate tax rates are highly likely to rise for the next generation — perhaps double, perhaps e

Kiplinger
Nov 12, 2020

Helping Our Aging Parents Plan for a Well-Lived Future
As we age, it becomes ever more imperative to have a plan for keeping our financial houses in order and use all of the resources available to ensure everything is set up to run smoothly and accurately. This article will dive into the financial and legacy topics associated with aging and the importance of getting all family members on the same page.

Tips for Financial Housekeeping Paying Bills: As your parents age, they may need your help with paying their bills. The importance of protecting them against financial abuse - enlisting a trustworthy person to help with paying bills and setting up some kind of system of checks and balances with a sibling or relative - can't be overstated.

SEE MORE Debt After Death: What You Should Know One strategy that I've seen work with families: One child deals with the bills, and the other child oversees household maintenance. Both siblings can take turns reviewing everything financial to ensure that it's all being handled correctly. Every family is different, and roles will vary, but communication is key for all families when coming up with these solutions.

Estate Planning: If your parents haven't set up a will, trust or power of attorney, now is the time to take action to get this done. This will ensure they have everything prepared the way they would like it and have all their wishes formally addressed. These directives can also help the family avoid big headaches when working through probate and attending to all of their parents' properties, assets and liabilities.

Life Insurance:  If one or both parents have a life insurance policy, it will be important to review their options with that policy. Some policies allow you to convert to a long-term care policy or use the cash proceeds. Or maybe it's time to

Kiplinger
Nov 11, 2020

Stock Market Today: Big Tech Bounces Back
The recent rotation away from growth stocks into value names took something of a pause Wednesday as the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite outpaced the other major indexes by a wide margin.

The Nasdaq closed up 2% at 11,786, as investors took advantage of cheaper share prices created by a period of underperformance. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished lower by 0.1% at 29,397, while the broader S&P 500 added just 0.8% to hit 3,572. 

SEE MORE 11 Dividend Growth Stocks Delivering Double-Digit Increases Over the past five days, the Russell 1000 Value index had outperformed the Russell 1000 Growth index by 8 percentage points. But for a session, at least, the rotation was reversed. 

"The underperformance of the Russell 1000 Growth vs. Value indices over the past 10 days has reached a level that suggests a temporary pause in the strong relative performance for Value," writes Canaccord Genuity equity strategist Tony Dwyer.

Wednesday's top-performing stocks included the usual suspects -- Amazon.com (AMZN, 3.4%), Apple (AAPL, 3%) and Microsoft (MSFT, 2.6%).

Other action in the stock market today:

The Russell 2000 was up 0.1% to 1,736.U.S. crude oil futures gained 0.1% to close at $41.49 per barrel. Gold futures were off 0.7% to fini

Kiplinger
Nov 11, 2020

The Best T. Rowe Price Funds for 401(k) Retirement Savers
Thomas Rowe Price, who founded his eponymous investment firm in 1937, is considered by many to be the father of growth investing. So it should come as little surprise that T. Rowe Price is home to many dazzling funds that focus on fast-growing stocks.

In fact, a dozen of the best T. Rowe Price funds rank among the 100 most popular 401(k) funds.

In this, part of our annual review of popular workplace retirement funds, we will analyze these 12 T. Rowe Price funds - five actively managed funds, as well as seven products from the firm's T. Rowe Price Retirement target-date series - and rate them Buy, Sell or Hold.

Read on as we look at some of the best T. Rowe Price funds for your 401(k) plan (and weed out some of the lesser options).

SEE MORE The 25 Best Low-Fee Mutual Funds to Buy in 2020 Returns and data are as of Nov. 10, unless otherwise noted, and are gathered for the share class with the lowest required minimum initial investment - typically the investor share class or A share class. The share class available in your 401(k) plan may be different.

Kiplinger
Nov 11, 2020

5 Telehealth Stocks for Long-Term Financial Fitness
There are no silver linings to the pandemic. Nevertheless, some stocks and sectors have benefited greatly from the societal changes COVID-19 has wrought. One such success story can be found in the nascent telehealth industry.

Companies that deliver virtual medical appointments, healthcare, healthcare diagnostics and the artificial intelligence and cloud-based services underpinning it all are having a fine 2020. Indeed, most telehealth stocks connecting patients to physicians, insurers, hospitals and health systems have been winners.

SEE MORE Warren Buffett Stocks Ranked: The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio And demand is only going up.

According to management consultant McKinsey, 46% of U.S. consumers in April were using telehealth to replace canceled healthcare visits. And the market is only expected to get bigger - much bigger. "The telehealth market by revenue is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 28% during the period 2019-2025," according to ResearchAndMarkets forecasts.

One hurdle for investors to overcome is that when it comes to pure-play telehealth stocks, the pickings are somewhat slim. To that end, we've sorted through the comparatively small telehealth sector to find some of analysts' favorite pure plays. 

S&P Global Market Intelligence surveys analysts' stock ratings and scores them on a five-point scale, where 1.0 equals Strong Buy and 5.0 means Strong Sell. Any score of 2.5 or lower means that analysts, on average, rate the stock a Buy. The closer the score gets to 1.0, the stronger the Buy call.

After taking into account analysts' scores, equity research and company fundamentals, we've homed in on five of the best telehealth stocks to play the industry's explosive growth. Just note that many of these stocks are starting to cool off after red-

Kiplinger
Nov 11, 2020

Your Business Needs a Succession Plan: Here Are the Basics
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series on selling your business, we've examined the questions facing owners who entered 2020 ready to make their move, breaking down how the COVID-19 pandemic changes the situation and how to increase a business's value if you decide to delay bringing it to market. There's another way forward, though — standing pat and not selling.

SEE MORE Tax Wrinkles for Work-at-Home Employees During COVID-19 If you were a business owner who was considering putting your company on the market but decided not to sell (or at least not anytime soon), what steps should be you taking now? The goals are to ensure preservation of the current business, as well as provide for an orderly and stable future transition when the proper time to sell arrives. Accordingly, the first and most critical step is setting a goal to implement both a business continuity plan and a business succession plan. The sooner, the better.

We have all learned a valuable lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic: A significant business disruption can happen with very little advance notice, and not being prepared can be disastrous.

Developing a Business Continuity Plan Armed now with the knowledge of how the pandemic impacted your own business operations, you can now plan. Did the travel restrictions impair your sales efforts? Did the substantial increase in employees working remotely overburden your IT infrastructure? Did your vendors and suppliers make requests that you couldn't respond to effectively?

The goal of a business continuity plan is to identify

Kiplinger
Nov 11, 2020

Should I Start Gifting Money (or Even My House) to My Kids?
When thinking about estate planning, inevitably comes the question of where will I leave my assets when I'm gone? Once you've decided who gets what, who will be your executor/executrix and who will be your power of attorney or trustee comes a deeper question: Would I rather leave my assets to them now or when I'm gone?

While most people plan for where their assets go when they're gone, not as many have thought about giving away some of those assets while they are still alive. Today I thought we'd explore the pros and cons of giving away your assets while you're still alive.

SEE MORE Gifts vs. Loans: Don't Be Generous to a Fault Whether you should give away some of your assets today depends largely on what type of asset it is and, of course, whether you may need those assets in the future. I always suggest starting with a financial plan to determine how much of your assets you will likely need for yourself in retirement. Future unknown expenses, such as health care or possibly long-term care, can derail even the best of plans. Once we know that we have covered all the possible health care issues, then we can best determine what you can safely give away without it causing you harm in the future.

How Much Money Can You Give Away? A Lot! I believe this information is timely because, while we currently are able to give away $11.58 million per person in 2020 — going up to $11.7 million in 2021 — this federal exemption amount will automatically revert to $5 million (adjusted for inflation) in 2026. Personally, I think it might change well before then if a new administration decides to change the current laws. As a nation, we are $27 trillion in debt, and therefore have to get tax reven

Kiplinger
Nov 10, 2020

7 Ways Holiday Shopping Will Be Different This Year
Holiday shopping -- especially on Black Friday -- is going to be a lot different this year. That's because many consumers remain hesitant about being in the midst of in-store crowds during the middle of a global health pandemic. In fact, 60% of shoppers say they plan to buy most of their holiday gifts online, according to the National Retail Federation's (NRF) annual holiday survey. As a result, retailers are revamping their approach to holiday sales in an effort to entice shoppers to spend (more) while limiting any potential exposure to COVID-19.

We spoke with several smart shopping experts to find out what kinds of changes consumers can expect to see. Here's what they had to say.

SEE MORE 17 People You Should Tip for the Holidays

Kiplinger
Nov 10, 2020

Stagflation: America's Next Potential Economic Hurdle
The shock to the economy from COVID-19 has been roughly of the same magnitude as the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008. However, while the GFC was a shock to credit, the pandemic has been a shock to income, for both individuals and businesses.

Like the Great Financial Crisis, the Federal Reserve has responded with trillions in stimulus. However, the challenges presented by COVID vary from the GFC in several ways. 

SEE MORE 15 Dividend-Paying Stocks to Sell or Avoid For one, the Federal Reserve can not simply fix the problem by restoring credit and flooding the financial system with liquidity. The Federal Reserve must also restore demand and income. The latter is a much more difficult problem to tackle than easing monetary conditions. And no matter how much liquidity is restored to corporations, the Federal Reserve can not force consumer demand higher. 

The adage "you can lead a horse to water, but can't make him drink" comes to mind.

Shutdowns, quarantine and outright fear caused consumers to pull back demand indefinitely at the same time companies pulled back supply in what looks to be a long-term impairment to the global economy. While equity markets are back to pre-COVID levels, the effects of COVID remain, and so does the uncertainty over how businesses, and consumers will spend in this post COVID world. 

The feared eventual result is lower supply leading to higher prices, and lower demand leading to job losses. Combine the two, and we get stagflation: a state of slow economic growth, high inflation and high unemployment.

Is the U.S. economy in a state of stagflation now? America is indeed experiencing high unemployment, and higher prices on key consumer items (rent, food, and transportation). While unemployment has fallen from 14.7% in Apr

Kiplinger
Nov 10, 2020

Stock Market Today: Growth Takes a Backseat to Value Yet Again
A rotation away from growth and into value continued apace Tuesday amid more news on the COVID front.

Less than 24 hours after Pfizer (PFE, -1.3%) and BioNTech (BNTX, 7.6%) released promising trial data for their vaccine candidate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Eli Lilly's (LLY, 3.0%) antibody treatment on an emergency-use basis.

SEE MORE 25 Dividend Stocks the Analysts Love the Most "Yesterday after market close, LLY announced that its monoclonal antibody treatment (LY-CoV555) received FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) based on positive findings from the BLAZE-1 Phase 2 studies to treat patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 cases after immediate diagnosis," writes CFRA analyst Sel Hardy (Buy). "As daily new Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations reach unprecedented highs, we think the EUA opens a considerable market opportunity for LLY," adding that AmerisourceBergen (ABC, 3.7%) will be in charge of U.S. delivery.

That continued a trend of investors moving money from heavily bought growth stocks to battered cyclical plays.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.9% on Tuesday, to another new high of 29,420, led by the likes of Walgreens (

Kiplinger
Nov 10, 2020

5 Best Materials Stocks to Buy for 2021
One of the most overlooked sectors in the market, basic materials stocks have become an attractive sector for investors.

Materials are a broad space that can include everything from metals, to plastics, as well as concrete and fertilizer. It can include companies that just extract raw commodities to those that refine commodities into higher-value goods like specialty chemicals.

While it's true that materials stocks may lack the fast growth of a tech stock or the perceived safety of a consumer goods company, this space has become a pocket of deep value. The massive economic contraction at the start of the year hit these stocks hard. But now, easy-money economic policies and a rebounding global economy bode well for the sector.

"We raised our recommended exposure to the S&P 500 Materials sector to overweight from marketweight," writes CFRA's Sam Stovall. "We think defensive sectors will become relative underperformers in the period ahead as cyclical sectors will likely be boosted by the apparent outcome of the presidential election" as well as Pfizer's (PFE) encouraging data from its vaccine trial."

"The Materials sector is also expected to record 2021 EPS growth of 27.4%, according to S&P Capital IQ's consensus estimates, vs. the S&P 500's projected 21.2% growth rate," he adds.

Investors looking to take profits into an overlooked and unloved sector should look no farther than this short list of the five best materials stocks for 2021. Next year likely will be a great one for the sector amid expectations for rebounding profits and expanding margins.

SEE MORE 15 Best Stocks to Buy for the Joe Biden Presidency Data is as of Nov. 9. D

Kiplinger
Nov 10, 2020

Big Changes Likely for Social Security, Medicare Under a Biden Presidency
When President-Elect Joe Biden takes office next year, sooner or later he and Congress will need to confront the third rail of politics -- the twin safety nets that Social Security and Medicare provide, both of which have been fraying for some time.

SEE MORE What Is the Social Security COLA? Funding shortfalls or outright insolvency loom for the retirement programs as demand grows from an aging population. A deadly pandemic and struggling economy have only accelerated fiscal and demographic pressures.

In 2021, Social Security is expected to begin drawing down its trust fund to cover benefits instead of tapping only the interest. Unless Congress acts, Social Security beneficiaries can expect at least a 20% cut in benefits when the trust fund runs out in 2033 - thanks to the pandemic, two years sooner than previously projected -- according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Medicare's situation is more dire: The Congressional Budget Office predicts the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which pays for traditional Medicare's Part A, will run out of money in 2024, two years ahead of schedule. If the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act, which helped extend Medicare's fiscal life, the program would become insolvent almost immediately, according to the Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan senior advocacy group in Alexandria, Va. The court will hear the case this month, with a ruling expected next year.

Biden has offered specific ideas for expanding and sho

Kiplinger
Nov 10, 2020

Is the Stock Market Open on Veterans Day 2020?
The stock market is indeed open on Wednesday, Nov. 11, which is when Veterans Day is observed in the U.S.

But it's pretty much alone.

SEE MORE 15 Best Stocks to Buy for the Joe Biden Presidency The post office, most banks and many schools will be closed for Veterans Day, as will many private businesses. In fact, the bond markets are closed on Wednesday, too.

Stocks, however, will trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq Stock Market at their usual hours for Veterans Day.

The following is a schedule of all stock market and bond market holidays for 2020.

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 Closed Closed Monday, Feb. 17 Presidents' Day/Washington's Birthday Closed Closed Closed Thursday, April 9 Maundy Thursday Open Open Early close
(2 p.m.) Friday, April 10 Good Friday Closed Closed Closed Friday, May 22 Friday Before Memorial Day Open Open Early close
(2 p.m.) Monday, May 25 Memorial Day Closed Closed Closed

Kiplinger
Nov 10, 2020

Retirement: It All Starts with a Budget
I have endlessly been amazed at how often financial advisers focus only on managing money in the market as people approach retirement. Nothing good happens to people in retirement without a proper income plan, and yes, that involves assets that grow, but it also requires intense scrutinization of cash flow and expenditures.

SEE MORE Debt After Death: What You Should Know Yes, it is important to have assets, and yes it is important to obtain a satisfactory rate of return. Still, if expenditures are not properly balanced for the amount of assets the persons have, the end result can be disastrous.  Unfortunately, I do not see most advisers take the time and effort to actually review their clients' budgets to determine whether expectations for the assets are adequate or not.

Some Millionaires Can't Afford to Retire I meet with people on a regular basis, and rarely do I find them to have a budget. Even though they have worked with a financial adviser for years, they are still guessing how much money they actually need in retirement to cover, not just their basic needs, but also their desired lifestyle. People come to my office, usually as excellent savers. Professionals who have faithfully put away hundreds of thousands of dollars (often millions) in their 401(k)s, and yet they are not sure they have enough.

SEE MORE Budgeting: To Take Back Control of Their Finances, Millennials Need to Embrace the ‘B' Word Why is that? Well, there can be many reasons, but they have at least one thing in common: No budget. I have seen people with $5 million, and as it turns out, it is not enough — because their spending is too high for the assets they have. Yes, th

Kiplinger
Nov 10, 2020

Real Estate Investing in 2021 Comes Down to 5 ‘Un' Words
Unmatched. Unfortunate. Uncertain.

Have you noticed a familiar pattern in some of 2020's most-used words?

When America's content marketing leaders were recently surveyed for their most-unloved buzzwords of 2020, their top pick was "unprecedented." Case in point.

These un- words are, well, understandable. The one I've heard the most in the investment sector?

Unprepared.

With the economy firmly in growth mode since 2009, nobody could have predicted the pandemic that turned personal finances upside down beginning this past March. The shock impacted everything from a person's job (Will I be working next week?) to their retirement account (Is it missing a zero?). Most were forced to re-evaluate their financial stability at that moment and their prospects for the future. This year, more than ever, highlights the wisdom of creating multiple income streams, especially through assets like real estate. 

SEE MORE How to Build a Diversified Real Estate Investment Portfolio Real estate is an accessible, reliable way to create passive income and be prepared for unexpected changes in the economy. But current challenges to investment real estate, reflected in a stream of mostly negative headlines,  make it more difficult to evaluate which options really are still "reliable."

Apartment investments are standing out as top performers during the pandemic-impacted economy. Strong demand for housing and very low interest rates are just a few factors fueling stronger-than-expected multifamily performance. Rent-collection rates have dipped from last year but are trending above 92% since May, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council. Cash returns and appreciation rates on apartments have historically outperformed other asset

Kiplinger
Nov 09, 2020

Financial Benefits for Military Families
David Muhlbaum: Veterans Day is meant to honor the service of persons who have served in United States armed forces. Today, we're going to talk about the ways the federal government and other institutions help veterans get their due in the form of special benefits, tax breaks and legal protections. Sandy and I will also discuss holiday tipping in the time of COVID and cost of cats. That's all ahead on this episode of Your Money's Worth. Stick around.

Episode Length: 00:29:33Listen to previous Your Money's Worth episodes SUBSCRIBE: Apple Google Play Spotify Overcast RSS Welcome to Your Money's Worth. I'm kiplinger.com senior editor David Muhlbaum. I'm joined by senior editor Sandy Block. Sandy, how are you?

Sandy Block: I'm doing great, David.

David Muhlbaum: Just to be clear, we are aware that there was kind of a big event this week.

Sandy Block: Yeah. I think there was an election.

David Muhlbaum: Right. And the thing is, as you also know, it's still unfolding. We literally don't know who the next president will be right now. And so, while some races have been called, and some conclusions can be drawn, it's too early to say how the pocketbook and economic issues that we like to stick to here will be affected.



Kiplinger
Nov 09, 2020

Stock Market Today: Promising Vaccine News Launches Dow to New Heights
The "COVID trade" went full-tilt on Monday amid a breakthrough on the coronavirus vaccine front.

This morning, Pfizer (PFE, 7.7%) and partner BioNTech (BNTX, 13.9%) announced results from an interim efficacy analysis showing their trial vaccine "to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection."

SEE MORE 13 Hot Upcoming IPOs to Watch For in 2020 and 2021 The news sparked a wild rally, albeit an imbalanced one.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot 3.0% higher to 29,157, eclipsing its previous all-time high set Sept. 2, on the strength of cyclical stocks such as American Express (AXP, 21.4%), Boeing (BA, 13.7%) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM, 13.5%). Battered stocks in industries such as airlines and cruise operators soared, too - in fact, these 11 stocks for a "vaccine pop" gained 22.1% on average Monday.

"If last week's global equity rally is able to sustain this momentum it will be interesting to watch and see whether the growth trade conti

Kiplinger
Nov 09, 2020

4 Money Benefits All Military Personnel Should Know
What's up, everybody. For those of you who I've not had the pleasure of meeting yet, my name is Brandon Copeland, a.k.a Professor Cope. I'm an eight-year NFL veteran linebacker for your New England Patriots. I'm also an Ivy league professor at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, on financial literacy. I've teamed up with Kiplinger to help deliver personal finance information to you monthly. I'm super excited about this -- and so without further ado, let's dive in.

Now November is a great month for many reasons. Thanksgiving, for a Husky individual like myself -- it lights my eyes up. Got to go back for multiple plates. But, more importantly, it's Veterans Day. It's also Salute to Service month in the NFL. So with that being said, I wanted to take this opportunity to shed light on some of the financial resources that are out there for our servicemen and women and their families. 

SEE MORE 10 Best Financial Benefits for Military Families I had an opportunity to sit down with Lisa Gerstner, who wrote an article on the top 10 benefits that military servicemen and women and their families can take full advantage of. Her husband, Tom, currently serves in our military. So first and foremost, thank you, Tom. Thank you for your service. And that's where a lot of the passion for wanting to shine light on these resources comes from. My father also served in the mili

Kiplinger
Nov 09, 2020

15 Best Stocks to Buy for the Joe Biden Presidency
The race has been called. Former Vice President Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States come Jan. 20, barring some unlikely twist of fate.

He won't have a particularly easy job in front of him. Biden will be inheriting an economy struggling to find footing in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus infections. Adding the uncertainty of a new administration into an already wildly uncertain environment could be a recipe for some choppiness.

SEE MORE 11 Best Stocks to Buy for a COVID-19 Vaccine Pop New administrations always bring a new set of policy priorities. And while President-Elect Biden has pledged to govern as a centrist, he's already made it very clear that he wants to "Build Back Better" with an emphasis on renewable energy and modern infrastructure.

"A Biden administration will mean more regulatory scrutiny for financial and energy stocks and probably higher taxes across the board," says Rodney Johnson, president of economic research firm HS Dent Publishing. "But there will be opportunities. Infrastructure spending, green energy and health care are all Democratic priorities and should do well under a Biden presidency."

And even though we won't know for sure until Georgia's runoff election, it looks like the Republicans will hold on to the Senate. This means that the Biden administration will need to reach across the aisle and negotiate on any major policy proposals. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it means any major policy moves will likely be broadly accepted and unlikely to ruffle too many feathers.

Let's look at the 15 best stocks to buy for a Joe Biden presidential victory. Some of these are fairly obvious winners, but some are contrarian bets you might not expect.

SEE MORE

Kiplinger
Nov 09, 2020

The 15 Best Stocks to Buy for the Joe Biden Presidency
The race has been called. Former Vice President Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States come Jan. 20, barring some unlikely twist of fate.

He won't have a particularly easy job in front of him. Biden will be inheriting an economy struggling to find footing in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus infections. Adding the uncertainty of a new administration into an already wildly uncertain environment could be a recipe for some choppiness.

SEE MORE 11 Best Stocks to Buy for a COVID-19 Vaccine Pop New administrations always bring a new set of policy priorities. And while President-Elect Biden has pledged to govern as a centrist, he's already made it very clear that he wants to "Build Back Better" with an emphasis on renewable energy and modern infrastructure.

"A Biden administration will mean more regulatory scrutiny for financial and energy stocks and probably higher taxes across the board," says Rodney Johnson, president of economic research firm HS Dent Publishing. "But there will be opportunities. Infrastructure spending, green energy and health care are all Democratic priorities and should do well under a Biden presidency."

And even though we won't know for sure until Georgia's runoff election, it looks like the Republicans will hold on to the Senate. This means that the Biden administration will need to reach across the aisle and negotiate on any major policy proposals. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as it means any major policy moves will likely be broadly accepted and unlikely to ruffle too many feathers.

Let's look at the 15 best stocks to buy for a Joe Biden presidential victory. Some of these are fairly obvious winners, but some are contrarian bets you might not expect.

SEE MORE

Kiplinger
Nov 09, 2020

Has COVID-19 Put Your Plan to Sell Your Business in Limbo?
The fourth quarter of 2020 hasn't ushered in the end of the COVID-19 pandemic as predicted by many pundits back in the dark days of March. Worse, the outlook for 2021 is uncertain, at best. Many business owners who targeted 2020 as the year to market their business have now decided to hunker down and wait out the pandemic or, at least, wait until there is a viable vaccine on the horizon.

Part 1 of this series explored some of the ways a business owner may come to the decision to hold off, rather than proceed with a sale. Instead of simply waiting, though, there are a number of steps that you can — and should — be taking so that you are ready to move strategically once the market stabilizes.

Be flexible It will be critical for business owners to update their financial forecast in a light intended to reflect the pandemic's current and anticipated impact on future business and operations. Given the unpredictable nature of our economic climate over recent months, update the forecast and revisit your assumptions on a regular basis as the market shifts.

SEE MORE There's Never Been a Better Time for Business Owners to Make a Move Be prepared to make quick decisions designed to preserve value. If, for example, you see potential supply chain impacts on your business, move quickly to address alternative suppliers. If you see that accounts receivable are slipping toward 90 days, make a decision about when to stop services to a particular customer.

Don't assume that everyone will be successful in adjusting to the challenges of the pandemic. Some businesses will fail. The key is to avoid being pulled down with businesses that can't or won't adjust

Kiplinger
Nov 09, 2020

How to Build a Diversified Real Estate Investment Portfolio
Recent survey research by National Real Estate Investor magazine indicates that nearly 60% of high-net-worth investors are expected to increase their allocation to investment real estate in the next 12 months. Millions of Americans invest in alternative assets, including real estate. It's an important step towards diversifying a portfolio with investments that don't necessarily correlate with the stock or bond markets.

Once you decide to invest in real estate, the challenge is how to build a diverse portfolio.

SEE MORE Are Opportunity Zones for You? 5 Questions to Ask Buying a property outright and actively managing it yourself is one way to participate in the market, but that typically requires a substantial initial investment — often hundreds of thousands of dollars to be paid at once. A downside of this approach is that you put all your eggs in one basket.

Owning and managing real estate yourself also means dealing with the three T's: toilets, tenants and trash. If you have the time, and dealing with all that appeals to you, it may be the way to go. Alternatively, you can invest alongside others in a diverse basket of properties. Diversification is even more important now with the pandemic and the additional risk it creates as the looming fear of further economic distress continues to cause concern.

Here are five tips to build a diverse real estate investment portfolio that has the potential to generate income and appreciation, as well as potentially withstand the shock of events, including recessionary downturns and, potentially, extraordinary occurrences like the pandemic and futur

Kiplinger
Nov 09, 2020

Tax Wrinkles for Work-at-Home Employees During COVID-19
Because of COVID-19, millions of people no longer go to the office but work from home instead, where they've had to set up workstations with desks, printers, high-speed internet and other pricey items — often paid for out of their own pockets. Can they deduct those expenses on their taxes?

Many other workers have temporarily (or maybe permanently) fled expensive big cities for cheaper, more remote locations, often sporting lower taxes. What does that mean for their tax returns?

SEE MORE State-by-State Guide to Taxes COVID-19 has changed everything this year for American workers. Some changes have been good on the pocketbook, such as reduced expenses on commuting, lower auto insurance premiums and less money going toward work clothes and lunches. Others have presented some new financial challenges: things like higher utility expenses, buying a faster internet plan with a new Wi-Fi router to handle the upsized bandwidth, office furniture and equipment and anything else to enable your remote working. After the challenging year, it would be nice to know whether these expenses can at least be deducted on your tax return.

In short, your eligibility to claim these expenses as deductions largely comes down to one question: Are you an employee or an independent contractor? Sadly, for employees now forced to work from home, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated deductible expenses tied to maintaining a home office. On the other hand, independent contractors are in luck. 

This article will walk through the tax treatment of home office-related expenses for employees and contra

Kiplinger
Nov 07, 2020

5 HSA Benefits You Might Not Know About
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it's that we have to be ready for the unpredictable. This is especially true when it comes to planning for unexpected medical costs. After all, no one plans to get sick or end up in the hospital. However, when you consider that roughly 4 in 10 Americans would struggle to cover a $400 emergency, many families could find themselves in a challenging financial situation if they got hit with an expensive and unplanned medical bill.

Health savings accounts, or HSAs, can help you take control of your health and financial wellness needs in today's unpredictable world. Not sure how they work? Don't worry — you're in good company. New research from Voya Financial shows that only 2% of people are aware of the key attributes of an HSA.

To help you get up-to-speed, below are five facts to help break down what you need to know about HSAs. And with open enrollment season underway for many American workers, now is a good time to get educated on HSAs as you consider all your employer-sponsored workplace benefits.

SEE MORE This Year's Benefits Open Enrollment Period Is an Opportunity You Don't Want to Miss

Kiplinger
Nov 06, 2020

19 Things You Should Have in Your Emergency Financial To-Go Kit
If a natural disaster hits, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to leave your home and temporarily relocate to a safer destination. If your home and its contents are damaged or destroyed, you'll need key documents (or copies of them) to reestablish lines of credit, secure a new driver's license or file insurance claims to cover any losses. Here's where to start.

SEE MORE 14 Must-Have Items for Your Home Emergency Kit Take an Inventory of Your Home Walk through your entire residence with a cell phone camera to create a record of your possessions. Be sure to describe each item including the quantity and product serial number. Document the purchase date and price, and gather receipts or credit card statements for these items. If you don't have a record of the price, look for a comparable item for sale online. Have jewelry, antiques, art and other valuables appraised. To find a professional appraiser near you, go to www.appraisers.org/find-an-appraiser.

Keep a copy of the video footage that's accessible from anywhere -- for example, in the form of a .mp4 file saved to the cloud. The inventory will help you determine whether you have enough coverage for your home's contents and document for tax purposes losses that insurance doesn't reimburse. Regularly update your inventory, especially after making major purchases or receiving expensive gifts.

SEE MORE 9 Things You'll Regret Keeping in a Safe Deposit Box Lastly, be sure to document the exterior and interior condition of your home before anything potentially gets damaged. This will help to establish your losse

Kiplinger
Nov 06, 2020

Stock Market Today: Markets End Raucous Week on a Restrained Note
Friday not only provided more clarity on the U.S. presidential election, but also good news on America's employment situation.

Neither development was met with another round of buying by investors, but one can forgive the bulls for being exhausted after a brisk week of gains. (The Dow Jones Industrial Average, for instance, slipped 0.2% to 28,323, but finished the week up 6.8%.)

SEE MORE 25 Dividend Stocks the Analysts Love the Most The Labor Department reported that the U.S. added a stronger-than-expected 638,000 jobs in October, bringing the unemployment rate down to 6.9%.

"The economy continues to display very impressive resilience across multiple sectors and facets, such as housing, auto sales, retail sales broadly, manufacturing, and increasingly services," says Rick Rieder, BlackRock's chief investment officer of Global Fixed Income and head of the BlackRock Global Allocation Investment Team. "Government employment provided more than a quarter-of-a-million jobs drag, while private sector employment gained an impressive 900,000 jobs." 

And while presidential election results are still pending from six states, the numbers increasingly point to a Biden victory, fueling more rip-roaring gains in many "Biden stocks." That includes marijuana stocks such as Canopy Growth (CGC, 10.9%) and Tilray (

Kiplinger
Nov 06, 2020

12 Coronavirus Stocks to Buy That Won't Let Up
2020 is nearly over, but the COVID-19 pandemic isn't.

This coronavirus has upended virtually every aspect of life, in turn triggering a bizarre domino effect across corporate America. Many businesses were shut down for good. The stock market experienced a record-setting crash (and rebound). In a few cases, however, some so-called coronavirus stocks weren't just capable of withstanding the storm - they were arguably better off for it.

Changes in consumer habits - an accelerated embrace of e-commerce, video games and working from home - have had major ripple effects. These trends have sped up declines in a number of businesses, even causing a cascade of bankruptcy filings. But they've also acted as "kingmakers," elevating a few niche tech plays into large-cap status, and strengthening the already dominant positions of a few mega-cap companies.

That advantage still matters, as COVID-19 hasn't gone away. A "second wave" is emerging across much of the world, including here at home. U.S. daily coronavirus caseloads are regularly breaking records, and recently have jumped well above the 100,000 mark.

Here, we look at a dozen coronavirus stocks to buy. Each of these companies has at least doubled the market so far in 2020, and they could benefit still more from a "second wave." But more importantly, they're all positioned for additional growth longer-term thanks to many of the trends COVID-19 either put into place or got up to speed. Just note that some of these stocks could experience short-term vol

Kiplinger
Nov 06, 2020

The Pandemic Has Hit Women Hard: 6 Tips to Bounce Back
We see reminders of the problems with gender parity every day. The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg brought women's struggles over the years back to the forefront. I just wrote about RBG last month, but this topic is worth discussing during the pandemic. Let's see how far we have come … and how far we still need to go.

SEE MORE 8 Things Men Should NEVER Do in the Workplace Making ends meet was a challenge before the pandemic. Even in families where both adults work full time, the average mom does almost 60% of the day care duties. In 2019 two-thirds of minimum wage workers were women.  Women carry two-thirds of all student debt in the U.S., and in 2019, nearly a quarter of female-headed households lived in poverty; for households headed by Black or Latina women, the rates were closer to 30%.

As bad as all that, things have gotten worse for women since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, for several reasons.

Women Are Getting Hurt More Than Men by COVID Typical recessions usually hurt male workers more as consumers cut back on expensive items like cars, computers and housing.  This then affects manufacturing and construction, sectors that are more male dominated.  But this recession is different

Kiplinger
Nov 06, 2020

Divorce: Who Pays for Education and How to Afford It
Divorcing couples often say that the list of disagreements to resolve seems like it never ends. Some couples wage war over everything … but hashing out the finances of educational matters is one of the conflicts that can get surprisingly ugly.

How Will You Pick  a School? School choice regarding K-12 public school versus private school, or state versus private college can be a minefield. For many, the root of the disagreements has to do with what they feel is best for their kids, and how to fund it.

SEE MORE 5 Ways to Survive Divorce, Emotionally and Financially For example, even if you agree that private school is best for your child, the biggest hurdle for most parents is cost. Private K-12 schools can tick upwards of $25,000-$65,000 a year, rivaling the cost of college! And while some may dismiss the issue, judging the cost of private school as a First World problem, and not necessary, there are many situations when private school may be in the best interest of the child. What happens to children who have attended private school for their entire lives and are flourishing socially and academically, and are ripped out because their divorcing grown-ups cannot agree as to who is going to foot the bill for future tuition payments? Or the child who was matched to a specific school because of learning differences, who is now thriving with this extra support, and is not yet ready to return to a mainstream educational environment?

Even public school bills can add up when you factor in the mounting expenses of school supplies, lunches, field trips, teacher holiday and year-end gifts, as well as PTA fundraisers with entry tickets sometimes topping $100 each! The cost of public school f

Kiplinger
Nov 05, 2020

Stock Market Today: Stocks Soar on Status Quo
The outcome of the presidential election remained uncertain during Thursday's session, and traders celebrated by pushing stocks to near 52-week highs.

Challenger Joe Biden's lead over President Trump -- and the Democrats' likely failure to seize control of the Senate -- was the proximate cause for jubilation, thanks to the prospect of a divided government. It's an old saying on Wall Street that the best government is a divided government because nothing much that threatens corporate profits can get done.

SEE MORE 11 Dividend Growth Stocks Delivering Double-Digit Increases The likelihood of a divided government is especially pleasing to investors in the nation's biggest tech companies, which otherwise might have been targeted for sweeping new regulations or even broken up altogether. Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB) and Amazon.com (AMZN) all rallied at least 2.5% to help the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lead the major indexes higher with a 2.6% gain to 11,890.

Another shot of market-friendly news came from the Federal Reserve, which kept target rates unchanged at what is essentially 0%. Strong gains by Microsoft and Apple also helped lift the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average, which added 2.0% to close at 28,390, while the broader S&

Kiplinger
Nov 05, 2020

Which Purchases Are Worth the Splurge?
Boats, name-brand clothing, iPhones — the list of luxury products available to consumers is endless. But which ones are worth their salt? Where will consumers' money be most content before it's tired and begging for something new?

SEE MORE Debt After Death: What You Should Know Defining "worth" is a deeply personal exercise. Some items deliver great performance and are unarguably worth their price tag. Others are more about feelings, connection and experience. While it's not always necessary to splurge, there are many products and services that are not only higher in quality but will also save you in the long run.

Better Service, Lower Cost There is nothing better than finding a product or service that costs less and performs better than the old options. For example, cable has become synonymous with continually rising rates, not to mention the taxes. Those who own a "smart" TV or a streaming device can replace cable with monthly subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime and Disney . Streaming services offer a personalized experience, provide significantly more content for less money and are always there when users want them.

When it comes to finding better goods for less, Amazon Prime is a top contender. For a small monthly fee, consumers can skip the shipping costs or set up monthly auto ship, get free music, e-books and video content, enjoy discounts at Whole Foods and more.

Warehouse memberships are another great value.

Kiplinger
Nov 05, 2020

Don't Bank on the Safety of Bonds in a Pandemic
Today's market environment requires that we talk candidly about bonds. While investors over the years have turned to bonds for safety, unfortunately they've never been riskier than they are right now.

SEE MORE Does a 40% Bond Allocation Make Sense in Today's Portfolios? Over long periods of time, bonds have generated lower returns and lower risk than equities. Bonds also had low correlation with equities, which generates diversification return. Generally, bonds are thought of as safe. Over the last 50 or so years, the 10-year U.S. government bond has produced average annual returns of around 7%.

Ah, the good old days. If you purchased a 10-year U.S. government bond on Oct. 1, 2020, the bond would have yielded 0.68%. In other words, over the next 10 years you would expect to get an average annual return of 0.68%. That's about 90% less than the average returns over the past 50 years. It's also pretty close to zero.

At the beginning of this year, the U.S. bond yielded 1.88%. Year to date those same bonds have delivered total returns of around 7%. How? Well, the yield went down from 1.88% to 0.68%. When the yield goes down, the price of the bond goes up, and vice versa: When rates rise, bonds fall in price.

SEE MORE 3 Reasons to Wait Until 70 to Claim Social Security Benefits So, the yield is 0.68%. If you buy a bond for $100, and you get a 0.68% return for a year, you then will have $100.68. But did you really make money? There is a concept called "real return," which takes the effect of inflation into account. If inflation were zero, then yes, you made 68 cents. But what if inflation were 1.8%, as it was in 2019? Well, the $100 woul

Kiplinger
Nov 04, 2020

Stock Market Today: The Only Clear Winner Right Now? Stocks.
Political chaos? You'd never have guessed it by the stock market's response Wednesday to the presidential election, which indeed has still not been decided. Investors who slept in after a long night of election-watching woke up with considerably more money in their portfolios than they went to sleep with.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.3% to 27,847, though late profit-taking cut the Dow's haul by more than half. The S&P 500 enjoyed one of its best post-election gains ever, jumping 2.2% to 3,443.

SEE MORE How Presidential Elections Affect the Stock Market And the Nasdaq Composite was the most resilient of the blue-chip indices, hanging on for a 3.9% improvement to 11,590 thanks to the likes of Amazon.com (AMZN, 6.3%), Facebook (FB, 8.3%) and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL, 6.1%).

"One of the big takeaways so far from Tuesday night is that the Senate likely will stay Republican, meaning we may have a divided Congress," says Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial. "The chances of higher taxes and more regulation likely took a hit under this scenario. This could be a nice tailwind for stocks, as the S&P 500 historically has done quite well under a divided Congress, up more than 17% on average.

"Additionally, in years with a divided Congress,  stocks have been higher the past 10 times, with 2020 potentially be

Kiplinger
Nov 04, 2020

Watch Out for Stimulus Check Texting Scam
According to the IRS, there's a new stimulus check texting scam that you need to know about. Thieves are sending text messages saying, "you have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment."

SEE MORE Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer The text then has a link to a fake phishing website that looks like the IRS's online "Get My Payment" portal. The idea is to trick people into disclosing bank account information under the guise of receiving a $1,200 stimulus check. Unfortunately, if you visit the fraudulent website and then enter your personal and financial account information, you will actually be giving this information to scammers.

Remember that neither the IRS nor any state agency will ever text you to ask for bank account information to make a stimulus check payment. They don't send unsolicited texts or emails. And they don't call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, or demand tax payments on gift cards.

If you receive one of these phony text messages, take a screenshot of it and email it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov. Also include the:

Date and time (including time zone) you received the text message;Number that appeared on your Caller ID; and Number that received the text message. SEE MORE Stimulus Check Deadline Extended If who believe you're eligible for a stimulus check, go directly to IRS.gov. If you'

Kiplinger
Nov 04, 2020

Find the Income to Insure Against Retirement Risks
You have probably seen TV commercials recently where:

A retired couple decides to drop their life insurance policy in order to create some extra cash.An ex-quarterback talks about health insurance to supplement basic Medicare. A recognizable mustachioed actor touts the advantages of tax-free cash through a reverse mortgage. Evaluating the products and the companies offering them is absolutely critical before you make any decision. However, the real challenge for you may be whether or not you can find income elsewhere to:

Pay the life insurance premiums instead of deciding to drop the policy.Pay the higher health care premiums for the more generous Medicare Supplement plan. Purchase longevity insurance to complement the reverse mortgage drawdowns. (Longevity insurance is the opposite of life insurance; it pays you income if you live, which means in this case it could continue the cash flow from reverse mortgage drawdowns beyond a certain age.) Income first As I always advocate, it is better to create a plan for retirement income first, and then figure out whether you can afford the premiums on the insurance protection you believe you need. That allows you to afford all the pleasures and necessities — including insurance — that best fit the needs of you and your family, with less worry and much more flexibility.

SEE MORE Waiting to File for Social Security Benefits Is Hard, but Payoff Is Sweet By unbundling the income and insurance elements of your plan, you can adjust them to reflect market conditions, the change in the personal circumstances of you or a spouse, or a change in situation of a child or grandchild. And your initial planning has all the flexibility of the individual components.



Kiplinger
Nov 04, 2020

What Happens to Medicare If the Affordable Care Act Is Overturned?
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death heightened the stakes in a case scheduled to appear before the court Nov. 10 that could reverse improvements to Medicare and raise out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries. The case, California v. Texas, which was filed by 20 Republican-leaning states, challenges whether the Affordable Care Act can exist without the individual mandate to buy health insurance. A Republican-controlled Congress removed the financial penalty for those without insurance in 2017.  

"If the ACA was repealed or rescinded in full, it would be devastating for Medicare," says David Lipschutz, associate director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, which along with AARP and Justice in Aging filed an amicus brief supporting California and 16 other Democratic-leaning states defending the health care law. Many of the law's provisions that strengthen the program's fiscal solvency also strengthen consumer protections for beneficiaries, he says.

"The ACA's changes are so ingrained in the program that people don't remember what Medicare was like before the law," adds Casey Schwarz, senior counsel for education and federal policy at the Medicare Rights Center. Without the ACA, she says, the doughnut hole for prescription drug coverage, which closed in 2020, reopens, and "the expansion of preventive care services goes away." The effects encompass both traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, eliminating ACA improvements that helped drive costs down for the program and beneficiaries. Here's what happens to Medicare if the court invalidates the law.

SEE MORE

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