Like overeating and watching your favorite holiday movie/show (mine is A Charlie Brown Christmas), it’s time for everyone’s favorite seasonal activity: year-end tax and financial planning!
Sure, focusing on money is a tough sell at this time of year, but a little bit of energy now could help you save or make some money in the future. At the...Read more
According to Giving USA's Annual Report on Philanthropy, Americans were a little less generous last year than they were amid the height of COVID in 2020 and 2021.
Total giving (individual and corporate donations, bequests and foundation giving) slid by 3.4 percent to $499.33 billion in 2022 from 2021 and the decline was a steeper 10.5%, when ...Read more
The misleading headline, “2023 Holiday to Reach Record Spending Levels” from the National Retail Federation (NRF), might lead you to think that the 2023 holiday season will be a smash hit.
Before anyone pops the early-holiday champagne corks, investment guru Barry Ritholtz has long noted how flawed the NRF survey has been. He says that ...Read more
Are we still talking about inflation? Yes, we are.
When the government released the November Consumer Price Index (CPI), it showed progress. The headline CPI tumbled to an annualized pace of 3.2 percent, from 3.7% the month prior.
The core rate, which strips out food and energy, edged down to 4%, the smallest increase since September 2021. ...Read more
Years ago, as disruption was forcing many in the financial services industry to come to terms with declining mutual fund and trading fees, one stockbroker said to me, “I’m going into real estate, because the 6 percent commission is sacred!”
I thought about his comment recently, after a federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the ...Read more
As open enrollment packages for healthcare coverage roll in, you might be tempted to tune out and default to whatever you elected for 2023.
That would be a shame, because health insurance varies widely from year to year and so too might your healthcare needs. That said, unraveling the choices can be crazy making, because there are so many ...Read more
Unless you have been hiding underneath a rock, you know that interest rates have been marching higher since the Federal Reserve began its inflation-fighting campaign.
Although the central bank only controls short-term rates, intermediate and longer-term rates have followed suit.
Over the past two years, the yield of the benchmark 10-year ...Read more
Before COVID, the annual October ritual of announcing the following year’s Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients was a sleepy event. But since the inflationary spike that started in 2021, millions have been waiting breathlessly for the news.
A bit of historical context: Although President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed...Read more
Over the past year, I have been helped settle one estate and have served as co-executor on another one. The process has caused me to rethink my usual approach to National Estate Planning Awareness Week (October 16 – 22), which has previously been one-part encouraging coach and one-part nudging aunt.
It’s time to put my cards on the table ...Read more
Here we go again...although Congress voted to keep the government open, averting a shutdown, it’s just for 45 days.
We should be used to the dysfunction – there have been 21 government shutdowns since 1976. Here are questions that I have fielded about these recurring events:
Federal workers would bear the brunt of the stalemate, with about...Read more
After more than three years of COVID-related reprieves, October 1 ushers in the resumption of federal student loan repayments. (Cue the groans from the millions who are impacted...)
For those who have paid off student loans a long time ago, it may be hard to conjure up empathy, but please try to hold back on your judgment, so we can encourage ...Read more
Two notable events collided to paint a picture of the U.S. economy that remains in a post-pandemic transition: the UAW launched “targeted strikes” against GM, Ford and Stellantis, just days before the Federal Reserve convened a two-day policy meeting.
In both instances, there are many questions that cloud decision-making for those involved....Read more
September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, an opportunity to discuss the very un-sexy, but essential topic.
The core concept is easy: You agree to pay a certain amount of money to a company, in exchange for the company's obligation to pay out a lump sum of money to your designated beneficiaries in the event of your death.
But many get ...Read more