Protecting seniors from financial abuse

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?

Be prepared for those RMDs

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.

‘Alaskans-First Fishing Act’ gives priority to personal-use fisheries

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.

Time for some financial ‘spring cleaning’

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:

AK Dept. of Fish and Game now in 21st century

The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game’s revamped online store is the go-to place for all fishing (and hunting) licenses, and it now offers two new features.
“Fishermen, both sport and commercial, can now print their licenses at home,” said Michelle Kaelke, Financing and Licensing Supervisor for the department. “They can purchase it online, immediately print it and go out fishing.”
“They can buy it before they go out to the fishing grounds, or if they’re traveling from Seattle or wherever, they can have everything ready for when they head up to Alaska,” she added.

Outlook for today’s investors: less certainty – but potential opportunities

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.

State fisheries managers predict plethora of pinks

A nearly $12 million cut in state funds is on tap for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game if state policymakers have their way. That was one early outcome of legislative house finance subcommittee meetings last week, as they wrapped up the first step in a budget process that will see cuts in agencies and programs almost across the board.
According to Juneau Resources Weekly, the ADF&G budget reductions cut across all divisions, with sport fishing facing the most personnel losses at 12 seasonal jobs. The Division of Habitat could lose $400,000; commercial fishing programs are set to lose five positions and an additional $2 million in general fund support.

How should you respond to higher interest rates?

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.

Sellers of fishing quota shares scarce; prices high

Right after the yearly halibut catch limits are announced each January, brokers are usually busy with buying, selling and transferring shares of the catch. But it’s been slow going so far, even with slight harvest increases in almost all Alaska fishing areas for the first time in nearly a decade. The buyers are there – it’s the sellers that are scarce.
“There’s less of a rush this year, but there are less quota shares available,” said Olivia Olsen at Alaskan Quota and Permits at Petersburg. “We’ve had some good sales in Southeast (2C), and we’re seeing very strong interest for halibut quota pretty much across the board. But shares for both halibut and sablefish are practically non-existent in the Central Gulf. I think the increases in both areas and the higher prices might bring out some more sellers, and of course, the buyers are sitting there waiting.”

Women may face extra challenges seeking financial security

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 […]

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