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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Biggest Take-Aways from The SECURE Act and How It Could Affect Retirees

Formally named the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019, the SECURE Act was passed by Congress and could be signed into law very soon. When passed, it will make substantial changes to both retirement plan contribution and distribution requirements in certain situations.United States Congress The legislation was initially passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 23, 2019 with overwhelming bi-partisan...
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Ten Last-Minute Tax Tips for Your 2019 Tax Return

It’s getting late, but there is still a little time left for some year-end tax planning.belt tightening on dollar bill Here are 10 last-minute tax tips to consider: 1. Sink more into a retirement account. You can shelter more of your income from taxes by contributing to a workplace plan, such as a 401(k) or 403(b) or through a traditional Individual Retirement Account. If you are self-employed, you can pitch in up to 25%...
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Four Things You Need to Know About Filing Estimated Taxes

The gig economy continues to expand. Workers, who are freelancers or independent contractors, now number roughly 57 million, which is about half of the entire working population.woman worried about money Gig workers need to understand their responsibility to the Internal Revenue Service. Without employers to withhold taxes from their paychecks, gig workers must calculate their own payments to the IRS. Here are four things to know about...
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Five Things To Know If You Inherit an IRA

Inheriting an IRA from a loved one can be confusing and costly if you make a mistake.piggy bank balancing on rope Here are five things to keep in mind if you inherit IRA assets: 1. Decide whether you need the money now. If you inherit an IRA, you may be tempted to spend the balance. If you cash out an inherited IRA, however, you will pay ordinary income taxes on the full amount of the inheritance. If you don’t need the money...
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