Money Minute Newsletters
Foreign Tourists: More than 79 million foreign tourists visited the United States in 2019, adding $254 billion to the U.S. economy. Residents of Canada and Mexico accounted for almost half of the total, while the countries below were the top 10 sources of overseas visitors.
Tapping Retirement Savings During a Financial Crisis: As the number of COVID-19 cases began to skyrocket in March 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The legislation may make it easier for Americans to access money in their retirement plans, temporarily waiving the 10% early-withdrawal penalty and increasing the amount they could borrow. Understanding these new guidelines and the other rules for loans and early withdrawals may help you determine if they are appropriate options during a financial crisis.
Portfolio Performance: Choose Your Benchmarks Wisely. Dramatic market turbulence has been common in 2020, and you can't help but hear about the frequent ups and downs of the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500 index. The performance of these major indexes is widely reported and analyzed in detail by financial news outlets around the nation.
Student Debt Isn't just for Young Adults: Recent college graduates aren't the only ones carrying student loan debt. A significant number of older Americans have student debt, too. In fact, student loan debt is the second-highest consumer debt category after mortgage debt. In total, outstanding student loan debt in the United States now stands at approximately $1.5
trillion, with the age 30 to 39 group carrying the highest load.
Mid-Year is a Good Time to Fine-Tune Your Finances: The first part of 2020 was rocky, but there should be better days ahead. Taking a close look at your finances may give you the foundation you need to begin moving forward. Mid-year is an ideal time to do so, because the planning opportunities are potentially greater than if you waited until the end of the year.
The ABCs of Finance: It's never too soon to start teaching children about money. Whether they're tagging along with you to the grocery store or watching you make purchases online,
children quickly realize that we use money to buy the things we want. You can teach some simple lessons today that will give them a solid foundation for making a lifetime of sound financial decisions.
State Population: Winners and Losers: The U.S. population was 328,239,523 in 2019, an increase of 0.5% over 2018. This was the fourth consecutive year of slowing population growth due to fewer births, more deaths, and lower immigration from other countries.
Five Key Benefits of the CARES Act for Individuals and Businesses: By now you know that Congress has passed a $2 trillion relief bill to help keep individuals and businesses afloat during these difficult times. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act contains many provisions. Here are five that may benefit you or your business.
Will vs. Trust: Know the Difference: Wills and trusts are common documents used in estate planning. While each can help in the distribution of assets at death, there are important differences between the two.
Tax Refund: Spend or Save: About 72% of taxpayers received a refund in 2018 and 2019. Here's how consumers spent the tax refunds they received in 2018 and what they planned to do with their 2019 refunds.
Keeping Cool: Investment Strategy vs. Reaction: After losing ground in 2018, U.S. stocks had a banner year in 2019, with the S&P 500 gaining almost 29% — the highest annual increase since 2013.1 It's too early to know how 2020 will turn out, but it's been rocky so far, and you can count on market swings to challenge your patience as an investor.
Social Security May Offer a Lifetime of Protection: Social Security is much more than a retirement program. Most Americans are protected by the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program — the official name of Social Security — from birth through old age. Here are four times in your life when Social Security might matter to you or the people
you care about.
Due Date Approaches for 2019 Federal Income Tax Returns: Tax filing season is here again. If you haven't done so already, you'll want to start pulling things together — that includes getting your hands on a copy of last year's tax return and gathering W-2s, 1099s, and deduction records.
Is It Time to Review Your IRA Estate Planning Strategies?: The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which was passed in December 2019 as part of a larger federal spending package, included a provision that warrants special attention from those who own high-value IRAs. Specifically, the "stretch" IRA provision — which permitted
nonspouse beneficiaries who inherited IRAs to spread distributions over their lifetimes — has been substantially restricted. IRA owners may want to revisit their estate planning strategies to
help prevent their heirs from getting hit with higher-than-expected tax bills.
Is there any way to stop getting unwanted robocalls?: Whether it's a helpful announcement from your child's school or an appointment reminder from a doctor's office, getting
robocalls has become an everyday occurrence. Unfortunately, robocalls are also used by criminals to collect consumers' personal and financial information and/or conduct various
Tips for Targeting Your Retirement Savings Goal: What if you're saving as much as you can, but still feel that your retirement savings goal is out of reach? As with many of life's toughest challenges, it may help to focus less on the big picture and more on the details.
The SECURE Act Offers New Opportunities for Individuals and Businesses: The SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act) is major legislation that was passed by Congress as part of a larger spending bill and signed into law by the president in December. Here are a few provisions that may affect you. Unless otherwise noted, the new rules apply to tax or plan years starting January 1, 2020.
Closing Gaps in Your Insurance Coverage: Buying insurance is about sharing or shifting risk, but you may think you're covered for specific losses when, in fact, you're not. Here are some common coverage gaps to consider when reviewing your own insurance coverage.
Socially Responsible Investing: Sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investing (also called socially responsible investing) has been around for a long time, but growing interest has moved it into the mainstream. U.S. SRI assets reached $12 trillion in 2018, 38% more than in 2016.
Hindsight is 2020: What Will You Do Differently This Year?: According to a recent survey, 76% of Americans reported having at least one financial regret. Over half of this group said it had to do with savings: 27% didn't start saving for retirement soon enough, 19% didn't contribute enough to an emergency fund, and 10% wish they had saved more for college.1
Key Retirement and Tax Numbers for 2020: Every year, the Internal Revenue Service announces cost-of-living adjustments that affect contribution limits for retirement plans and various tax deduction, exclusion, exemption, and threshold amounts. Here are a few of the key adjustments for 2020.
How to Give Like a Billionaire When You Don't Have Billions to Give: Since Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett created the Giving Pledge in 2010, more than 200 of the world's wealthiest individuals and couples have committed to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropic or charitable causes.
Take This Quiz: The Social Security Retirement Earnings Test: Can you work and receive Social Security retirement benefits at the same time? Yes, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) will apply an earnings test. Part or all of your monthly benefit may be withheld if you earn too much. To help avoid surprises, take this quiz to find out what you know — and don't know — about Social Security earnings test rules.
Should I sign up for an identity theft protection service?: Unfortunately, data breaches are now normal, everyday occurrences in our society. As a result, many companies are offering services to help you protect your personal information. If you want an extra layer of protection, an identity theft protection service is a good option. However, the term "identity theft protection service" can be misleading.
Three Regrets of Retirees: A recent survey found that more than half of retirees have retirement planning regrets. Unfortunately, many of these retirees had to cut back on their lifestyles to compensate for financial shortfalls.
Ten Year-End Tax Tips for 2019: Here are 10 things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year.
Tips for Managing Your Holiday Spending: Like almost everything else these days, the holidays have become a barrage of options and choices, with nearly limitless opportunities to overspend. Here are some tips to help you make sure your family's spending remains in check this holiday season.
Earnings Season: What Investors Can Take Away from Corporate Reports: Publicly traded companies are required to report their financial performance to regulators and shareholders on a quarterly basis. Earnings season is the often-turbulent period when most companies disclose their successes and failures.
Five Times in Your Life When You Might Need Help with Your Finances: As you move through different stages of life, you will face new and unique financial situations. Did you just get engaged? Perhaps you are wondering how you and your partner are going to manage your money together. Do you have children? Maybe you are looking for ways to pay for their college education.
What Health Services Aren't Covered by Medicare?: Original Medicare — Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance — offers broad coverage, but many services are not covered. Some may be fully or partially covered by a Part C Medicare Advantage Plan, which replaces Original Medicare, or a Medigap policy, which supplements Original Medicare. Both are offered by Medicare-approved private insurers. (You cannot have both a Medicare Advantage Plan and a Medigap policy.)
Do Millennials Need Life Insurance?: The financial challenges millennials face can be overwhelming. Many young adults have to figure out how to pay off college loans, save to buy a home or start a family, and sock away money for retirement.
Five Retirement Lessons from Today's Retirees: Each year for its Retirement Confidence Survey, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) surveys 1,000 workers and 1,000 retirees to assess how confident they are in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement.
When Should I file the FASFA?: For the 2020-2021 school year, the FAFSA can be filed as early as October 1, 2019. Whether you have a senior in high school or a returning college student, it's a good idea to file the FAFSA as early as possible to increase your child's chances of getting financial aid, because some aid programs operate on a first-come, first-served basis. (For high school seniors who haven't yet been accepted at a particular college, you can list all the schools your child has applied to on the form.)
Market Strategies: Three Ways to Play Defense in Your Stock Portfolio: Defensive investment strategies share a common goal — to help a portfolio better weather an economic downturn and/or bouts of market volatility. But there are some key differences, including the specific criteria by which particular stocks are selected.
Key Estate Planning Documents: Estate planning is the process of managing and preserving your assets while you are alive, and conserving and controlling their distribution after your death. There are four key estate planning documents almost everyone should have regardless of age, health, or wealth.
What's New in the College World?: If you're the parent or grandparent of a current or prospective college student, you might be interested to learn what's new in the world of higher education.