How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus Scams

The news coverage regarding COVID-19 has dominated our lives recently. Cybercriminals are now trying to capitalize on our collective concern. Here are a couple specific angles we have seen Cybercriminals trying to use recently:Hacker in front of a computer with information security terms relating to cybersecurity Through phishing emails, bad actors are claiming to have new information about COVID-19. Best practice: Instead...
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The CARES Act:  The Largest Stimulus Package in U.S. History

The last few weeks have been surreal and frightening as we’ve watched a pandemic unfold rapidly across the globe.  Life feels upside down.  As we keep our children home from school, telecommute, and hug our grandchildren through computer screens, we hope our communal social distancing efforts are flattening the curve.  But it still feels scary to watch the disease spread.  The global economy and financial markets have shuddered in response.  People across all walks of life are wrestling with the financial impact of shutting down huge portions of our economy.  If you are a small business owner...
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Staying Home? You Can Still Explore, Move, Learn, and Create

As we practice social distancing to help combat the coronavirus, many of us are staying home right now. Fortunately, there are numerous free resources circling our communities to help keep our routine or even virtually explore more than we usually do. Here are a few ideas for free and fun things to do online and offline: Explore Travel the World – Virtuallygirl imagining flying in space If you’re missing your travel...
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Making Lemonade: Top 10 Opportunities When Markets are Down

While no one likes to see the financial markets decline, it can be helpful to remember that there is a silver lining to every cloud. Here are a few ways that you can turn those “lemons into lemonade”. 1. Fund Your 401(k). When markets are down, your money can go farther. Consider making your retirement contributions now to take advantage of “buying low.” While no one can predict what will happen in the short-term, over the long-term, markets have historically rebounded and grown after drops of 20% or more, as you can see in the following chart:...
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A History of Market Ups and Downs

For the third day this week, we have seen significant volatility in the markets. Yesterday, the S&P 500 closed at 2,741.38, which places it close to a bear market, defined as a 20% drop from a recent high. In times like these, it can be hard to watch the headlines and, closer to home, to worry about what’s happening in your portfolio. Especially following the stellar year we had in 2019, a market drop like this makes all of our pulses pound a little faster. That’s why we find it helpful to look at the longer-term perspective. Although it has been more than a decade since we’ve experienced...
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Coronavirus, Oil Prices, and an (Almost) Bear Market in Stocks

Eleven years ago, on March 9, 2009, the U.S. stock market reached its low point of the Global Financial Crisis. That dark day marked the beginning of an extended bull market that took the S&P 500 Index from 676.53 to 3,386.15 on February 19, 2020 – a 401% increase. Over the last three weeks, we’ve witnessed a sudden reversal. After today’s dramatic 7.6% market drop, the S&P 500 now sits at 2,746.56, a 19% decline from the recent high. Stocks have now given back the significant gains they made over the last 12 months and are on the verge of the 20% decline that defines a bear market....
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SECURE Act: Six Ways to Preserve the Stretch

elderly parents looking at iPad with adult childThe newly passed SECURE Act changes the rules on IRAs and other retirement plans. While in the past beneficiaries were often able to “stretch” inherited IRA distributions over their lifetimes, now most non-spouse beneficiaries must take the distributions over no more than 10 years. For beneficiaries in peak earning years, this can tip them into higher marginal tax brackets and eat...
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Coronavirus Hits the Stock Market: Now What?

worried man looking at phoneStock markets worldwide have declined sharply this week as investors grapple with the ongoing spread of coronavirus disease (or COVID-19). Over the last two trading sessions, the S&P 500 Index is down 6.3%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen by 1,911 points. Capital has surged into traditional safe havens, driving up the price of government bonds and gold. The benchmark 10-year...
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How to Retire Without the Burden of a Mortgage

More Americans are retiring with a mortgage.house made of money A study by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies concluded that 46% of homeowners from ages 65 to 79 are still making mortgage payments. In contrast, three decades ago only 24% of this subset of Americans hadn’t paid off their house. Retiring without a mortgage can provide more financial security for retirees – and for many Americans, it’s a goal worth...
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2020 Tax Brackets and How Much You Can Save for Retirement

If you want to stash away more money for retirement in 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that the contribution limits for some popular retirement accounts have increased.april 15 tax day calendar Also experiencing a change for 2020 are the IRS tax rate tables and standard deductions. Let’s take a look at the retirement account changes first. Workplace Retirement Accounts The maximum contribution for...
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