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Mar 22, 2018

The 5 Best Fidelity Stock Funds to Buy for the Long-Term
Some investors have given up on actively managed stock funds in recent years, instead turning to dirt-cheap index funds that passively track a benchmark. Index funds can get the job done. But the record of Fidelity's stock mutual funds makes a strong case that you should invest at least a portion of your money in some of its superior active funds.

Gun-slinging Fidelity managers including Peter Lynch dominated the investment world in the 1980s and 1990s. Those days are long gone, but Fidelity still employs dozens of first-class managers and analysts. Meanwhile, many expense ratios are relatively low compared to other actively managed funds. Yes, some of Fidelity's funds are mediocre -- in my view, Fidelity simply has too many options. But many are superb. Managers such as Will Danoff, Joel Tillinghast and Steven Wymer have clobbered the market indexes for a decade or longer.

Here are five of the best Fidelity stock funds you can own right now.

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

Mar 22, 2018

Social Security 101: How to File for Benefits
Nothing worth doing is ever easy, and so it goes with Social Security. When the time comes to file for your benefits, be prepared. Here are the nuts and bolts of the application process.

Mar 21, 2018

Retailers Closing Stores in 2018
Thousands of retailers shut their doors last year, and thousands more will do the same this year.

Mar 21, 2018

12 Retailers that May Soon Disappear Forever
Remember Circuit City, Woolworths, Linens 'n Things and Sam Goody? Each of those retailers was once a powerhouse in their respective slivers of the retailing world. But time and competition eventually caught up with - and overwhelmed - those once-great shopping venues.

That can and likely will happen to other retailers in the future. The very nature of the retailing industry is a competitive chase for a limited number of consumer dollars. Many companies think they have something unique to offer shoppers, but the reality is not enough of them do. Some, in fact, miss the boat so badly or lose touch with consumers for so long that they have no choice to close up shop in years to come.

Here's a look at 12 retailers that may suffer the same fate. Each suffers from a lack of customers, a lack of money, a lack of viable prospects or a combination of some or all of those issues. Thus, it would not be surprising if these companies eventually made their way into the annals of retail stores that "used to be."

To be sure, it's possible that any of these companies could dig their way out of dire straits, generating large returns for loyal investors, so shareholders should consider our picks and make their own conclusions. But remember: It's better to jump off a sinking ship a year early than a year late.

SEE ALSO: 32 Companies That Amazon Could Ruin

Mar 21, 2018

Charitable Giving Under the New Tax Law
The new tax law may discourage donations. But you can still support your causes and reduce your tax bill with these strategies.

Mar 21, 2018

How Much Does an Amazon Prime Membership Cost?
If you're thinking about signing up for Amazon Prime, here's what you need to know including how much you'll pay for a Prime membership.

Mar 21, 2018

How to Cancel Your Amazon Prime Membership
If you aren't getting your money's worth from Prime, here are the steps you need to take on to cancel your subscription.

Mar 21, 2018

Tax Rules on 10 Different Retirement Accounts and Investments
Saving money for retirement involves many factors that can't be controlled, but taxes can be, to a certain extent.

Mar 21, 2018

Top 6 Apps to Spring Clean Your Finances
To help get a better grip on where your money is going, recommit to a budget or jump-start your savings plan, these handy apps are just a swipe away.

Mar 20, 2018

10 Best ETFs to Buy for Beginners
If you're just starting to invest your money, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are one of the best places to begin. Like mutual funds, these instruments allow new investors to easily invest in large baskets of assets - stocks, bonds and commodities among them - often with lower annual expenses than what similar mutual funds charge. But what qualifies a fund to be among the best ETFs for beginners? Target these qualities:

Low fees. Young people just now starting to invest have decades to work with. Thus, they have a lot of time to benefit from the cost savings of low annual expenses. For instance, over the course of 30 years, a $10,000 investment in a fund that charges 0.1% in fees and gains 7% annually will make over $17,500 more than a fund with the exact same performance but a full 1% in fees.

Wide exposure. As a novice investor, it's best to spread your bets rather than risk all of your money on a single, narrow investment. So, for instance, you may want to start out with a broad international fund that invests in several countries until you learn how to identify opportunities in a specific country. Once you gain experience, you can make more informed decisions about devoting some of your savings to concentrated investments.

Stable growth. Beginning investors may be more prone to making moves out of fear - such as when an investment suddenly moves lower, more quickly than the rest of the market. No fund is guaranteed to never experience a significant drop, and trying to avoid volatility altogether can keep you from significant gains. However, beginners should try to stick to "buy-and-hold" funds meant to integrate safety and stability without sacrificing too much growth.

The 10 best ETFs for beginners, then, will have some or all of these traits. Let's explore:

SEE ALSO: 15 Great ETFs for a Prosperous Year

Mar 20, 2018

Are You Paying Off Credit Card Debt the Wrong Way?
Employ this strategy to get your debt down and extra cash in your pocket.

Mar 20, 2018

8 Reasons Why Your Estate Plan May Now Be Worthless
Most people hate reviewing their estate plans, and I can't say I blame them. From tax law and complex documents, to trusts and health care directives, the intricacies can be daunting. Plus, talking about life after death isn't anyone's favorite activity.

Unfortunately, these common stressors often prevent people from revisiting their plan once it's been drafted, creating the potential for substantial gaps that could dramatically affect how assets are distributed down the line.

To help you identify these gaps, and to help ensure that your wishes are carried out faithfully after you have passed on, here are eight red flags that can indicate a problem with your estate plan.

Written by Casey Robinson, a wealth counselor at Waldron Private Wealth, a boutique wealth management firm outside Pittsburgh, Pa. Robinson has extensive experience assisting multi-generational families with estate planning, integrating trusts, tax planning and risk management.

Mar 20, 2018

3 Steps Toward Building a Retirement Income Plan
Switching gears from saving for retirement to turning that savings into a retirement paycheck is a tricky proposition. Taking these steps can help bring your income plan into focus.

Mar 19, 2018

7 Top Monthly Dividend Stocks and Funds to Buy
The mortgage is due every month. So are utility bills, car payments and the membership to the gym that many of us don't actually use.

That's not a major problem for many people because they get regular paychecks. But when they eventually retire, it would be nice to at least partially match income to their expenses.

Enter monthly dividend stocks. While bonds generally pay twice per year and most American stocks pay quarterly, a few select few stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and closed-end funds (CEFs) pay monthly, making them ideally suited for retirees living off their investments.

Naturally, you should be skeptical of gimmicky stocks, and you should never buy a stock simply because it pays a monthly dividend. Any investment you buy should meet your basic smell test for quality and should be attractively priced.

Thankfully, plenty of monthly dividend stocks make the cut. Today, we're going to take a look at a diverse lot of seven monthly payers. Three are high-quality real estate investment trusts (REITs), two are conservative ETFs, one is a dirt-cheap CEF and one is a more speculative business development company (BDC) trading at a deep discount. But all have one thing in common: They pay their dividends monthly.

SEE ALSO: 50 Dividend Stocks You Can Count On

Mar 19, 2018

5 Biotech Stocks That Are "Strong Buys"
According to top analysts on the Street, these five "Strong Buy" biotech stocks are primed for outsized growth in the next 12 months.

Biotechs often present intriguing, and potentially lucrative, investment opportunities. Share prices can explode on positive trial results or key regulatory approvals. However, buyers beware: These rewards can disappear just as quickly if critical data disappoints. To minimize this risk, we specifically searched for stocks with a high degree of confidence from Wall Street's top analysts.

In this case, we used the popular Trending Stocks tool to filter for best-rated stocks in the last week, regardless of market capitalization. The best part about this tool is that it clearly displays the upside potential from the current share price to the average analyst price target.

So we crunched the data and pinpointed these five compelling biotech stocks that are trending right now. All five stocks share a bullish Strong Buy analyst consensus rating. Note that this is based only on analyst ratings from the last three months.

With this in mind, let's delve deeper into why the Street is so bullish on these stocks right now:

SEE ALSO FROM KIPLINGER: 20 of the Best Stocks You Probably Haven't Heard Of

Mar 19, 2018

New Medicare Cards Are Coming Soon
In April, Medicare will start mailing new cards that don't disclose Social Security numbers. But the rollout will take a year.

Mar 19, 2018

10 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In
When it comes to cheap living, don't mess with Texas. The Lone Star State is home to four of the most affordable cities in America. But Texas doesn't have a monopoly on low living costs. Four other states make an appearance on our list.

If you're thinking about relocating to one of these cheap cities, weigh the pros and cons. A low cost of living is attractive, but the allure lessens if jobs are hard to come by, paychecks are small or the town offers little to do. Plan an extended visit to ensure the city fits your needs.

We compiled our rankings based on the Council for Community and Economic Research's calculations of living expenses in 269 urban areas. Its Cost of Living Index measures prices for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. (As for the miscellaneous category, think of expenses such as going to a movie or getting your hair done at a salon.) We did not include cities with populations below 50,000.

Take a look at our 2018 list of the 10 cheapest places to live in America.

SEE ALSO: 10 Most Expensive U.S. Cities to Live In

Mar 19, 2018

10 Most Expensive U.S. Cities to Live In
The most expensive U.S. cities are usually expensive for a reason. Residents pay higher living costs in exchange for favorable geography, climate, culture or economic prosperity -- or all of the above. Of course, that doesn't make the most expensive cities the "best" cities to live in, at least not for everyone, says Jennie Allison of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, a nonprofit research and policy group.

"We all consider how much it costs to live in a particular city, with housing being one of the biggest determinants of that," Allison says. "However, a person or business needs to think about what local amenities are important to them too, whether it be local public transportation systems, walkability, access to natural amenities, and so forth."

To determine just how much the most expensive U.S. cities cost, we turned to the latest data from the Council for Community and Economic Research. Its Cost of Living Index measures prices in 269 urban areas for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services such as getting your hair done or going to a movie. Take a closer look at the 10 most expensive U.S. cities.

SEE ALSO: 10 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In

Mar 19, 2018

5 States With No State Sales Tax
There are 45 states plus the District of Columbia that impose a state sales tax on retirees and other residents. In addition, local sales tax is collected in 38 states. The combined levy can be hefty. In Tennessee, for example, the average combined state and local sales tax is 9.46%.

That means there are just five states with no state sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. But if you're scouting out the best places to retire, don't judge a state on its sales tax alone. Tennessee ranks as one of the more tax-friendly states in the U.S., despite its high sales tax, largely because it doesn't impose a state income tax. Oregon, on the other hand, isn't tax-friendly for retirees. The Beaver State has a top income tax rate of 9.9% and taxes most retirement income. On the plus side, you can enjoy a nice glass of Willamette Valley pinot noir, tax-free.

Learn more about what you will really pay to live in the five states with no state sales tax.

SEE ALSO: 13 States That Tax Social Security

Mar 19, 2018

You Don't Need a Financial Planner ... Unless ...
There are plenty of times when people can handle their investments, taxes and retirement planning themselves. Here's who can go it alone, and who should seek some advice. Which category do you fit into?

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