Both the Dow and the S&P 500 were back to where they were more than two years ago, as of May 31st. It’s been a stomach-churning roller coaster ride along the way.
The S&P 500, however, has been on a tear, up 10% this year. Maybe you’ve been looking at your investment and retirement account balances and wondering why you’re not seeing that kind of gain.
That’s because just five technology companies drove 96% of those gains!
According to the Motley Fool, nearly half of the stocks in the index were negative for the year on May 31. (MarketWatch just called the S&P 500 “ridiculous” and questioned whether you should bet your retirement on the fortunes of a small handful of stocks.) [Read more…] “Should You “Ride Out” the Volatile Stock Market?”
The problems at Silicon Valley Bank, Credit Suisse, and First Republic Bank are fueling anxiety for people who want to make sure their money in banks and money market funds is safe.
Adding to the fear that this may just be the tip of the iceberg is that banks borrowed a record amount from the emergency last-resort support the Federal Reserve set up in the last week.
So, it’s not surprising people want to know how safe their money is in a Bank On Yourself plan. Read on for the answer. And, since you must “park” your money someplace, I’ll also explain why you would be hard-pressed to find a safer, more advantageous place to put your dollars – in good times or bad – than in a Bank On Yourself plan. [Read more…] “Is There a Safer Place for Your Money Than in a Bank?”
As the New Year gets underway, it’s good to set goals and make plans – but it’s also important to review the biggest threats you face.
Here are the top 5 threats to your financial future in 2023…
Threat #1: 2023 Recession
If you had money in the stock market, you know how bad 2022 was. The S&P 500 lost nearly 20%, and the average 401(k) lost 22.9%. Seeing one-fifth of your life savings vaporize in a single year is a hard pill to swallow.
And after having the worst year in the markets since the 2008 financial crisis, it’s only natural to want to put that behind us and move on. However, what we want to happen and what is happening are two different stories. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg see a 70% chance of a recession in 2023 – which means it’s very likely things will get worse before they get better.
Threat #2: High-Interest Rates
[Read more…] “The 5 Biggest Financial Threats You Face in 2023”
Two-thirds of Americans intend to make a financial New Year’s resolution for 2023, but only 20% are confident they’ll be able to keep their resolution.
That’s according to a new survey from The Ascent, a Motley Fool service. It’s not surprising why. It’s been a very challenging year, and everybody’s got a case of the financial “icks.”
In a year that many would just as soon forget, a few of the “low lights” include…
A Majority of People Worry about Money Daily, and Many Lose Sleep Because of It
[Read more…] “The Secret to Eliminating Your Financial “Icks” in 2023″
I just turned 70…
Which means I’ll be receiving a special “birthday gift” from Uncle Sam for the first time.
Yes, I’m talking about my first Social Security check.
Even though I could’ve started taking Social Security eight years ago, I decided to wait until now since I’m still working and don’t need the money now.
Which is great because now I’ll get the maximum amount possible.
So, I’m glad I waited…
And I was even happier when I heard that in January, we’ll see an 8.7% increase in our Social Security checks with the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) – the largest increase since 1981.
On the surface that sounds like great news, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want a bigger Social Security check?
However, the devil is in the details, especially when it comes to retirement income, government benefits, and taxes!
[Read more…] “Social Security’s Big Cost of Living Increase (COLA) Means MORE Taxes to Pay”
In his first 100 days in office, President Biden unveiled three colossal spending packages earning him the nickname, “The Six Trillion Dollar Man.”
Biden and Congress are just getting started with the most massive expansion of government since FDR’s New Deal during the Great Depression. Apparently, it’s desperately needed, even though the pandemic-caused recession is over.
This is a government that is notorious for wasting hundreds of billions of our hard-earned dollars every year. Think $518,000 to study how cocaine affects the mating habits of Japanese quails, $998,798 to ship two 19-cent washers from one state to another… and the list goes on. You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried!
And let’s not forget this is a government with a long history of not being able to make much of a dent in controlling fraud and abuse. The government admits that more than $134 billion of improper Medicare and Medicaid payments were made in 2020 alone – and that’s just one government agency. [Read more…] “When Does Taxation Become Theft?”
Jon and Jen have an opportunity to buy their dream home and lock in a historically low interest rate. This is a pretty common scenario in today’s market. In fact, you may be thinking about buying a home or refinancing your mortgage to take advantage of today’s low rates. If so, here’s a powerful option to consider…
Jon and Jen are trying to decide whether a 30-year mortgage or a 15-year mortgage makes the most sense. Their mortgage broker showed them that even with an interest rate just 0.65% lower, the 15-year mortgage would save them almost two-thirds of the interest of a 30-year loan.
They decided the 15-year mortgage made the most sense. Their thinking was, “We’re both 48 now, and we plan to work until we’re 70. The sooner we get the house paid off, the sooner we can save more for the future. Plus, we really like the idea of saving almost $90,000 in interest.” [Read more…] “A Surprising Solution to the 15-Year vs 30-Year Mortgage Dilemma”
A new survey from Highland Solutions revealed some startling stats about Americans’ spending habits during the pandemic. How many of these describe your situation?
- 63% are living paycheck to paycheck
- 47% have run out of their emergency savings
- More than one-third have opened up a new credit card since the pandemic to help cover expenses
- 42% have taken on more debt than normal, and nearly a third have racked up over $10,000 in new debt (a recipe for disaster)
- 82% could not cover a surprise $500 expense
- 67% regret not having enough savings before the pandemic hit
So How the Heck Did We Dig Ourselves into this Debt Hole?
For starters, you only need to look no further than the conventional advice about emergency funds. [Read more…] “New Survey Reveals Majority of Americans Now Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck Due to COVID-19 Pandemic… Here’s How to Avoid That”
A growing number of retirement planning experts are joining the chorus of people saying 401(k) plans no longer make sense for savers in recent articles on Motley Fool, Bloomberg, MarketWatch, and other major publications.
They’re lamenting that one of the biggest appeals of the 401(k) – the ability to make contributions with untaxed dollars in exchange for tax-deferred growth and withdrawals – is disappearing.
The national debt was already skyrocketing before the pandemic spurred the biggest fiscal stimulus programs in history. And a surge in unemployment has lowered tax revenue for federal and state governments.
What do governments typically do to counter budget deficits?
They raise taxes, of course!
And as taxes rise, deferring them in a 401(k) or IRA means you’ll pay more later – potentially a lot more.
Even before the pandemic, the Center for Retirement Research said people lose 25%-33% of the value of their 401(k) to taxes… and most people are shocked when it happens because they forget they’ll owe the IRS taxes on every penny they’ve put in and every penny of growth they’ve deferred.
Do you know what the tax rates will be in 20 or 30 years from now? For that matter, do you know what they’ll be next year or in two years?
[Read more…] “Why More Experts Are Now Saying It’s Time to Ditch Your 401(k)”
The SECURE Act of 2019 is supposed to help more Americans save for retirement. The new legislation will have an impact on retirement plans – and not all of them are good.
In December of 2019, Congress passed H.R.1994 – the SECURE Act of 2019 – which contains the most sweeping changes to government-controlled retirement accounts – such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and IRAs – in more than a decade.
The SECURE legislation – which stands for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement” – put into place several provisions supposedly intended to strengthen retirement security.
Not surprisingly, the financial services industry spent many millions of dollars lobbying Congress to ensure passage.
So is the new legislation in your best interests? Is the SECURE Act really likely to increase your retirement security?
[Read more…] “Pros, Cons and Why the SECURE Act WON’T Make Your Retirement More Secure”