Where were you on March 9, 2009? Do you remember the headwinds hitting Wall Street stocks then? When the closing bell rang at the New York Stock Exchange that Monday afternoon, it marked the end of another down day for stocks. Just hours earlier, the Wall Street Journal had asked: “How Low Can Stocks Go?”1
The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index answered that question by sinking to 676.53, even with mergers and acquisitions making headlines. The index was under 700 for the first time since 1996. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled to a closing low of 6,547.05.2
To quote Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” It was the bottom of the bear market – and it was also the best time, in a generation, to buy stocks.2 (more…)
Investors are routinely warned about allowing their emotions to influence their decisions. They are less routinely cautioned about letting their preconceptions and biases color their financial choices.
In a battle between the facts & our preconceptions, our preconceptions may win. If we acknowledge this tendency, we may be able to avoid some unexamined choices when it comes to personal finance; it may actually “pay” us to recognize our biases as we invest. Here are some common examples of bias creeping into our financial lives. (more…)
“Audit” is a word that can strike fear into the hearts of taxpayers.
However, the chances of an Internal Revenue Service audit aren’t that high. In 2017, the most recent statistics available, show the I.R.S. audited 0.5% of all individual tax returns.
Being audited does not necessarily imply that the I.R.S. suspects wrongdoing. The I.R.S. says that an audit is just a formal review of a tax return to ensure information is being reported according to current tax law and to verify that the information itself is accurate. (more…)
Trust deeds may seem to be a fairly straightforward form of financial investment. You may have heard of them in passing without being certain exactly what they are. It’s also referred to as a private trust deed.
What are they? At the core, these private trust deeds are sort of like mortgages that are used by real estate investors to borrow money to purchase property or finance buildings. The “sort of” part comes from the fact that these private trust deeds are not exactly like the mortgage a homeowner might take from a bank or other mortgage lender to buy a house. (more…)
As a consumer, when you purchase an expensive item, like a car or refrigerator, you expect to receive a warranty that the manufacturer will repair or replace that product if it breaks down.
A warranty makes sense for big-ticket purchases, but what about for a home? (more…)
Americans aged 45 to 54, who have credit card balances, carry an average debt of $9,096 per individual.
The wise use of credit is a critical skill in today’s world. Used unwisely, however, credit can rapidly turn from a useful tool to a crippling burden. There are several warning signs that you may be approaching credit problems: (more…)
Probate subtly reduces the value of many estates. It can take more than a year in some cases, and attorney’s fees, appraiser’s fees, and court costs may eat up as much as 5% of a decedent’s assets. Probating a “routine” estate valued at $400,000 could cost as much as $20,000.
What do those fees pay for? In many instances, routine clerical work. Few estates require more than that. Heirs of small, five-figure estates may be allowed to claim property through affidavit, but this convenience isn’t extended for larger estates.
So, how canyou exempt more of your assets from probate and its costs? Here are some ideas. (more…)
Do you regularly donate to charities and other non-profit organizations? Then you may want to open a donor-advised fund.
Donor-advised funds are becoming popular. It is easy to see why. They offer potential tax perks, and in some instances, a chance to grow money set aside for charitable gifting. (more…)
Do you have to make a multimillion-dollar gift to a charity to receive immediate or future financial benefits? No. If you’re not yet a millionaire or simply a “millionaire next door,” yet want to give, consider the following options, which may bring you immediate or future tax deductions. (more…)
How healthy a retirement do you think you will have?If you can stay active as a senior and curb or avoid certain habits, you could potentially reduce one type of retirement expense.
Each year, Fidelity Investments presents an analysis of retiree health care costs. In 2019, Fidelity projected that the average 65-year-old couple would spend around $285,000 on health care during retirement, including about $11,000 in the first year. Both projections took Medicare benefits into account. (more…)
When it comes to retirement, some women face obstacles that can make saving for retirement a challenge. Women typically earn less than their male counterparts and often take time out of the workforce to care for children or other family members. Added to the fact that women typically live longer than men, retirement money for … Continue reading “Women Facing and Conquering Retirement Challenges”
Football is back, which means Summer is coming to a close, days will get shorter, and sweaters will soon be in play. This year, there was no pre-season, so professional football started in September, which coincidentally, is a perennial month for stock market volatility.1
Roth IRA Conversion decisions have attracted retirement savers since their introduction in 1998. They offer the potential for tax-free retirement income, provided Internal Revenue Service rules are followed.
The 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision streamlined tax and estate strategizing for married LGBTQ+ couples. If you are filing a joint tax return for this year or thinking about updating estate strategies, here are some important things to remember.
How much does extended care cost, and how do you arrange it when it is needed? The average person might have difficulty answering those two questions, for the answers are not widely known. For clarification, here are some facts to dispel some myths.
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