Depending on where they lived, consumers had to shell out anywhere from $3 to $10 per freeze and then another fee to lift the freeze. “Paying a fee for freezes added insult to injury because the person doing it probably had been victimized,” said John Heath, directing attorney at Lexington Law in Salt Lake City.
You shouldn’t use your house to help pay your monthly bills, but nearly 1 in 6 American homeowners thinks that’s just fine. Those were the findings from a recent survey by Bankrate.com. Earlier this month, the personal finance website took an online poll of 719 homeowners, asking them about using their home equity — the
The new tax code makes a big change to the individual retirement account landscape, according to financial advisor Winnie Sun. People are no longer allowed to go back and recharacterize their individual retirement accounts — if, for example, they realize they paid more taxes than they needed to, she said. “This is critical, because if
Decades ago the problem for individual investors was getting enough information without buying costly subscription services. Thanks to the internet, investors now have access to free, real-time data at the click of a button. The challenge lies in selecting the right information for assessing a specific stock and evaluating it correctly. The process of selecting
It’s no wonder the reverse mortgage is one of the most misunderstood mortgage products around. That was fine when reverse mortgages were an exotic loan product that few people purchased. However, more than 1 million have been sold since the government program that insures them started in 1990. So, what is a reverse mortgage? A
Be sure to take into account the kinds of tax advantages you may get from investing. If you have a company retirement plan or an individual retirement account, you will get a tax break either when the money goes in or out, depending on what kind of account you own, Benz said. Traditional 401(k) plans
Interest rates have been marching steadily upward for months, and the Fed has indicated plans to raise interest rates twice more before year’s end in an effort to temper inflation amid a growing economy and sustained job growth. “There’s been a sea change in the markets,” said Matt Diczok, fixed-income strategist for Merrill Lynch and
The mental roadblocks humans tend to throw in front of their efforts to make sound decisions have come to be known as “cognitive biases.” Cognitive biases are so apparent and so inherent that there’s no disputing their existence. Psychological research has identified an array of cognitive biases. Given the foundational level at which these biases
You’re 66 years old and married; your spouse is 65. You have no children. You were the higher earner, and making a little more than $175,000 before retirement. Your spouse was making $20,000 before retirement. You assume you’ll both live until 100. To maximize your spousal benefits, the higher earner should claim it at 67.
The idea is not widely implemented. But it has caught the attention of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, which published a research paper on the strategy last year. That is because many individuals face low levels of income in retirement. The typical working household ages 55 to 64 with access to a
One big question on investors’ lips today is whether bitcoin is risky or not. And the answer to that question is yes, according to financial advisor Ted Jenkin, CEO at Oxygen Financial. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer digital payment system. And because of that, there’s no government involvement, no central authority and no FDIC insurance, Jenkin
Advisors should be aware of and sensitive to your tax situation, but sometimes problems may be hard to detect unless you know where to look. For example, the client may not disclose all the accounts he or she has, so an advisor won’t know how other accounts are invested, or more importantly, what the gain
The first step for impact investors, regardless of asset class, is to think about which issues or causes are important to them so that they can craft an investment strategy that’s in line with their values. “If you’re looking at traditional corporate bonds, then instead of investing in a company totally based on its credit
To that point, 30 years ago the retirement and bond market landscape looked quite different from the one we’re currently experiencing. In 1988, the 10-year Treasury yielded between 8 percent and 9 percent, and the inflation rate was about 4 percent. Additionally, many people who retired in the 1980s had pensions that covered most of
When plotted over time on a graph, the spread of the two rates normally forms a curve — the wider the difference, or spread, the more pronounced the curve. This curve is what’s known as the yield curve, though there are other curves involving yield differences. When long-term bond rates are higher (they usually are
Becoming too emotionally attached to investments can result in irrationally clinging to an asset longer than you should. This can be especially true of stock issued or sold to you by your employer. Taking an unrealistic view of your company stock can lead to a critical lack of portfolio diversification. Whether it’s being overconfident about
Your trusty college savings plan is no longer just for higher-education costs, thanks to the new tax law. Whether you have young children or grandchildren, you’re probably aware of the rising cost of higher education: The average annual cost of tuition, fees and room and board at a four-year private college rose 3.5 percent, to
This hasn’t been much of an issue in recent years, when the biggest concerns about inflation have been that it was too low. At a consumer level, inflation has been below 3 percent for the past 20 years, and it’s been less than 2 percent for eight of the 10 years since the Great Recession.
Various long-term studies have shown that, net of fees, actively managed mutual funds tend to underperform the S&P 500. This mounting evidence has prompted various huge institutional investors, such as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to move much of their assets into passive vehicles. One problem some investors may have with evidence-based investing
The median amount American investors age 65 and up — those nearing or already in retirement — have saved up for their golden years is a mere $64,811, according to Vanguard. While markets are currently soaring — and therefore boosting, for now, 401(k) account balances — people of all ages are woefully underprepared for the
There are two major factors you should consider when deciding whether or not to refinance your house: interest rates and home appreciation, said financial advisor Winnie Sun. If your house’s value has soared significantly but interest rates are up from when you first moved in, she said, you might want to hold off. “It may
You may not be able to meet your savings targets in addition to paying down debt as quickly as you would like, given your current cash flow. In these instances, one approach to take is to pay down debt more aggressively and assume savings increases in the future as income increases and debt is paid
Central to Americans’ confidence in our government is their confidence in our tax-collection system. Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service has not always earned that trust, undermining this system of voluntary compliance and taxpayer engagement. Fortunately, this has been a bipartisan issue in the past, and we believe a bipartisan proposal exists to once again solve
A fiduciary is a person given the power to act on behalf of another and put their interests first. The Investment Advisors Act of 1940 is a law that was enacted in order to regulate advisors who, for compensation, give advice to others as to the value of securities or as to the advisability of
“Anything that is international equities excludes the U.S.; therefore, it is much easier for those managers to outperform,” said Frank Talbot, Citywire’s head of investment research. “There’s a lot of good managers in international equities, where the outperformance is above 50 percent, meaning that more than half of the fund managers add value in those
Not everyone will wind up needing care in an assisted-living facility in old age, but everybody should plan for it, just in case. “When people hear the term ‘long-term care,’ they immediately think, Oh, my gosh, long-term care insurance. That’s for old people,” said certified financial planner Marguerita Cheng, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth.
Determining the mix of investment types is one of your most important tasks as an investor. Every investment has different strengths that allow it to play a specific role in your overall strategy. For instance, some investments may provide regular income while others may serve as a temporary place to hold for cash. Some even
Start with the Securities and Exchange Commission and/or the state the fund is registered in, and check for all disclosures and any negative press that has occurred. Research the tenure of the portfolio manager(s), and research not only their SEC and/or state information but also any personal information that is unusual about the manager(s). Subscribe
The company you work for may let you purchase company stock at a discounted price. The formal name for this is an “employee stock purchase plan,” or ESPP. And if used correctly, these stock purchases can boost your bottom line, according to Sophia Bera, founder of Gen Y Planning. Here’s how it works. Your company
Thanks to the internet, it’s easy to spend money these days. Retailers offer us endless ways to automate our purchasing. They show us products we’ve looked at, and they offer one-click purchasing and send emails reminding us that we’ve left something behind in a cart. Fortunately, we can turn the tables. We can use that