April 24 has been designated Tax Freedom Day for 2015. Tax Freedom Day, calculated by the Tax Foundation, is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year. So it may be a good time to review your own situation to determine if you can “free” yourself from some investment-related taxes in the future.
Of course, Tax Freedom Day is something of a fiction, in practical terms, because most people pay their taxes throughout the year via payroll deductions. Also, you may not mind paying your share of taxes because your tax dollars are used in a variety of ways — such as law enforcement, food safety, road maintenance, public education and so on — that, taken together, have a big impact on the quality of life in this country. Nonetheless, you may well want to look for ways to reduce those taxes associated with your investments, leaving you more money available to meet your important goals, such as a comfortable retirement.
Next week, we observe the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. Since its inception in 1970, Earth Day has inspired millions of people to take action to improve the environment. But the lessons of environmentalism can also be applied to other areas of life — such as investing. Specifically, as an investor, you may well want to follow the “three Rs”: reduce, reuse and recycle.
Let’s see how these environmental themes can be applied to your investment habits:
For the past few years, the stock market has moved up fairly steadily, with no major “corrections.” But thus far in 2015, we’ve already seen periods of volatility — enough, in fact, to make some investors jittery. Nervous investors may be more prone to make decisions based on short-term market movements — so how can you stay calm?
First of all, when evaluating your investment decisions, stay focused on those factors that have historically driven stock prices. The U.S. economy is growing at a reasonably good pace, and corporate earnings remain fairly strong. Plus, stocks may not be as undervalued as they were a few years ago — as measured by the price-to-earnings ratio — but they still aren’t overly expensive, either.
It’s unfortunate but true: the elderly population is targeted for financial abuse or exploitation. In fact, by some estimates, this type of targeted abuse results in billions of dollars in losses each year. If you have elderly parents, what signs should you watch for to determine their vulnerability? And what can you do to help protect your parents from being victimized?
You might not think that 70 1/2 represents any particular milestone. But when you do reach this age, you will have to make some decisions that affect an important aspect of your life — your retirement income.
Here’s the background: Once you turn 70 1/2, you will need to start taking withdrawals from your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan and from your traditional IRA (but not your Roth IRA).
Actually, you will need to begin these withdrawals — known as “required minimum distributions” — by April 1 of the following year and continue taking them by Dec. 31 each year after that.
Seven times is the charm for building some momentum on a measure that aims to give personal-use fisheries a priority over commercial and sport users. As it stands now, the three fisheries are all on equal footing in the eyes and actions of state managers.
The priority shift has been introduced during each of the last seven legislative sessions by (now) Senator Bill Stoltze (R-Chugiak), but has never made it past a first hearing — until now.
We’ve just about arrived at spring, the time when many people spruce up their homes, yards and other parts of their surroundings. This year, why not extend that practice a little further and give your financial and investment environment a good “spring cleaning”?
Here are a few suggestions for doing just that:
The world of today is vastly different from the one that existed in, say, 1974. Innovations such as the Internet, smartphones, tablets, Facebook, Twitter and so on have made our lives more enjoyable, efficient and productive in many ways, and have vastly improved our access to the world’s knowledge. Yet when it comes to one important area of our lives — investing for the future — many of us may actually face more challenges today than we might have in the past.
If the Federal Reserve raises short-term interest rates this year — as many financial professionals predict — what will it mean to you?
As a consumer, you might experience the “ripple” effects if long-term interest rates eventually follow suit, affecting mortgages and other loans. But as an investor, you might quickly feel the impact of a move by the Fed — especially if you own bonds.
In fact, the value of your existing bonds might drop noticeably if interest rates were to rise. That’s because no one will give you full price for your lower-paying bonds when new bonds are being issued at a higher interest rate. So if you want to sell your bonds, you might have to take a loss on them.
On March 8, we observe International Women’s Day. On this occasion, thousands of events across the world will honor the cultural, political and social achievements of women. Of course, in many countries, women still face significant economic challenges. And even here in the United States, women encounter more obstacles than men in the pursuit of […]