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Money Minute Newsletters

October 2019

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.)

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September 2019

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.)

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August 2019

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.

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July 2019

Is It Time to Declare Your Financial Independence?: No matter how much money you have or which life stage you're in, becoming financially independent starts with a dream. Your dream might be to finally pay off the
mountain of debt you've accumulated, or to stop relying on someone else for financial support. Or perhaps your dream is to retire early so you can spend more time with your family, travel the world, or open your own business. Financial independence, however you define it, is freedom from the financial obstacles that are keeping you from living life on your own terms.

Should You Invest Internationally?: An initial public offering (IPO) is the first public sale of stock by a private company. Companies tend to schedule IPOs when investors are feeling good about their financial prospects and are more inclined to take on the risk associated with a new venture.

What is the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit: Tax Investing in foreign stocks provides access to a world of opportunities outside the United States, which may help boost returns and manage risk in your portfolio. However, it's important to understand the unique risk/return characteristics of foreign investments before sending a portion of your money overseas.

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June 2019

Time for a Mid-Year Investment Check: Many investors may be inclined to review their portfolios only when markets hit a rough patch, but careful planning is essential in all economic climates. So whether the markets are up
or down, periodically reviewing your portfolio with your financial professional can be an excellent way to keep your investments on track, and midway through the year is a good time for a checkup. Here are three questions to consider.

Financial Advice for Recent College Graduates: You've put in the hard work as a college student and finally received your diploma. Now you're ready to head out on your own. And though you may not have given much  thought to your financial future when you were in college, you have new financial challenges and goals to consider. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to start on.

Charitable Giving After Tax Return:  Tax reform changes to the standard deduction and itemized deductions may affect your ability to obtain an income tax benefit from charitable giving. Projecting how you'll be affected by
these changes while there's still time to take action is important.

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May 2019

Mergers & Acquisitions: What's in the Deal for Investors?: Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in North America and Europe reached its second highest level on record in 2018. There were 19,501 deals worth $3.6 trillion — a 6.3% increase in deal volume over 2017. There was also a rise in mega deals exceeding $10 billion.

How Does the Federal Reserve Affect the Economy?: If you follow financial news, you've probably heard many references to "the Fed" along the lines of "the Fed held interest rates," or "market watchers are wondering what the Fed will do next." So what exactly is the Fed and what does it do?

How to Recover from a Mid-Life Financial Crisis: A financial crisis can be scary at any age, but this is especially true when you're in your 40s or 50s. Perhaps you're way behind on saving for retirement or have too much  debt from unnecessary spending. Or maybe an unexpected challenge, such as a job loss, illness, or break from the workforce for caregiving responsibilities, took a direct hit on your finances..

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April 2019

Five Things to Know Before Becoming a Landlord: Increased cash flow, property appreciation, and tax benefits are three major reasons why people want to own rental properties. But being a landlord takes time and money, so before you purchase an investment property or rent out your own home, make sure you understand what's involved.

Rules on Opening a 529 Plan Account for College: Year over year, participation in 529 plans continues to rise.1 Anyone can open an account, lifetime contribution limits are typically over $300,000, and there are tax benefits if the funds are used for college. Here are some common questions on opening an account.

Do I need to get a REAL ID when I renew my license?: Beginning October 1, 2020, residents of every state and territory will need to present a REAL ID-compliant license/identification card, or another acceptable form of identification (such as a passport), to access federal facilities, enter nuclear power plants, and board commercial aircraft. Although implementation has been slow, states have made progress in meeting the REAL ID Act's recommendations.

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March 2019

Due Date Approaches for 2018 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.

Quiz: How Much Have You Thought About Health and Health-Care Costs in Retirement?: When planning for retirement, it's important to consider a wide variety of factors. One of the most important is health and its associated costs. Thinking about your future health and the rising cost of health care can help you better plan for retirement in terms of both your finances and overall well-being. This quiz can help you assess your current knowledge of health and health-care costs in retirement.

What are some ways to prepare financially for severe weather??:  Floods, tornadoes, lightning, and hail are common spring events in many parts of the country and may result in widespread damage. Severe weather often strikes suddenly, so take measures now to protect yourself and your property.

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February 2019

Hidden Gem: HSAs in Retirement: When saving for retirement, you're probably aware of the benefits of using tax-preferred accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs. But you may not be aware of another type of tax-preferred account that may prove very useful, not only during your working years but also in retirement: the health savings account (HSA).

Tax Scams to Watch Out For: While tax scams are especially prevalent during tax season, they can take place any time during the year. As a result, it's in your best interest to always be vigilant so you don't end up
becoming the victim of a fraudulent tax scheme. Read on for some of the more common scams to watch out for.

Know Your Mutual Funds? Mutual funds offer a convenient way to participate in a broad range of market activity that would be difficult for most investors to achieve by purchasing individual securities. With almost 8,000 funds available on the U.S. market, you should be able to find appropriate investments to pursue your goals.2 However, it's important to periodically examine the mix of funds you hold.

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January 2019

Famous People Who Failed to Plan Properly: It's almost impossible to overstate the importance of taking the time to plan your estate. Nevertheless, it's surprising how many American adults haven't done so. You might think that those who are rich and famous would be way ahead of the curve when it comes to planning their estates properly, considering the resources and lawyers presumably available to them. Yet there are plenty of celebrities and people of note who died with inadequate (or nonexistent) estate plans.

Key Retirement and Tax Numbers for 2019: Every year, the Internal Revenue Service announces cost-of-living adjustments that affect contribution limits for retirement plans, thresholds for deductions and credits, and standard deduction and personal exemption amounts. Here are a few of the key adjustments for 2019.

Four Tips for Planning a Career Change: Changing careers can be rewarding for many reasons, but career transitions don't always go smoothly. Your career shift may take longer than expected, or you may find yourself temporarily out of work if you need to go back to school or can't immediately find a job. Consider these four tips to help make the financial impact of the transition easier.

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December 2018

Questions to ask before buying that thing you've always wanted:  Even if you're generally comfortable with your finances, you may occasionally worry about how much you're spending, especially if you consistently have trouble saving for shorter long-term goals. Here are a few questions to ask that might help you decide whether a purchase is really worth it.

Baby Boomer RMD's: In 2016, the first wave of baby boomers turned 70½, and many more reach that milestone in 2017 and 2018. What's so special about 70½? That's the age when you must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from tax-deferred retirement accounts, including traditional IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, SEP IRAs, SARSEPs, and 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) plans. 

I still have money left in my FSA that I have to use by December 31st. How should I spend it?:  Health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are a great way for individuals to pay qualified medical and dental expenses using pre-tax dollars. If you find that you still have money left over in your FSA as the end of the year approaches, there are a number of ways to spend down your account balance.

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November 2018

What You Can Do with a Will: A will is often the cornerstone of an estate plan. Here are five things you can do with a will.

Does Your Business Need a Buy-Sell Agreement? When you're mired deep in the day-to-day challenges of the management of your business, it's often hard to step out of the trees and take a good hard look at the forest. But at various points in the business cycle, it's important to do just that. 

Ten Year-End Tax Tips for 2017: Here are 10 things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year.

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