A recent Harris poll revealed that 64% of all American adults have not put an estate plan in place,1 even though having a comprehensive plan is critical to protecting you and your family’s future by minimizing taxes and expenses and maximizing what you’re able to leave behind. Estate planning is often a topic no one wants to talk about — but everyone needs to. An estate plan ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes, whether that’s who takes care of your pet or how much you are able to posthumously support your favorite charity or cause.
While the estate planning process may seem like a huge endeavor, taking just a few steps can get you quickly on your way. Here are five guidelines that can help get you started.
Have you or someone you know purchased an expensive home because it’s the one you’ve always dreamed about? You imagined your children playing in the yard or everyone gathering under one roof for the holidays. Could you afford it? Was it the right decision financially? When emotions run high, people tend to make choices they wouldn’t necessarily make if they had taken time to think through their actions properly beforehand.
This phenomenon can be especially true for how investors react to the latest headlines pertaining to the markets — when the market dips, some individuals . . .
The adage “a rising tide lifts all the boats” was introduced to the American lexicon with President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 dedication of the Greers Ferry Dam in Heber Springs, Arkansas.
“This State…has a million cars…They were built in Detroit. As this State’s income rises, so does the income of Michigan. As the income of Michigan rises, so does the income of the United States. A rising tide lifts all the boats…So I regard this as an investment by the people of the United States in the United States.”
The nation has rebounded from the financial crisis, with unemployment dropping to 4.3 percent, far from a crisis high of 10 percent in March 2009.
Rather than being buoyed by the recovery, some ....
Interest rates have begun to trend higher after bottoming in July 2016. After reaching a low of 1.36 percent last year, the 10-year Treasury yield recently hit 2.6 percent and currently rests at a 2.56-percent yield, as of early March. Higher interest rates have benefited bond buyers with higher starting yields but could become a source of concern if rates continue to climb.
The new higher-rate environment raises questions for investors, such as “Does my investment strategy still make sense?” For many investors, laddering bonds from three to seven years makes sense, as it allows increasing income over time as bonds mature, allowing the reinvestment of proceeds into new bonds with higher coupons. This maturity range ....
Asset allocation involves dividing an investment portfolio among different asset categories, such as stocks from U.S. and foreign companies, bonds from governments and corporations, and cash or money-market funds.
Determining which mix of assets to hold in your investment portfolio is a very personal process and depends on how long you plan to invest, what you are trying to achieve with saving your money and investing it, and even how patient or anxious you are when the value of your total investments rises and falls with the course of the markets and time. Thus, the asset allocation that works best for you at any given point in your life will generally be determined by your time horizon and....
Americans will soon head to the polls to elect the next president of the United States.
While the outcome is unknown, one thing is certain: There will be a steady stream of opinions from pundits and prognosticators about how the election will impact the stock market. As we explain below, investors would be well‑served to avoid the temptation to make significant changes to long‑term...
Boom, Bust, Bounceback? Housing in the U.S.
The State of the Housing Market
Many economists have pointed to housing as the trigger for the Great Financial Crisis that took place during 2008–2009. With the clarity of hindsight, we can see that there was indeed a housing bubble that burst across America in 2008. Now, economists are pondering when the housing market will return to glory and act as a much-needed tailwind for the ...
Will China Go Boom or Bust?
After a 100-percent increase in the stock market from the end of November 2014 to mid-June 2015, the Chinese stock market dropped more than 40 percent during....
6 Things Investors Should Remember During Times of Turmoil.
The start of 2016 saw an old-fashioned selloff in stock markets around the world, as various markets saw the year’s first week of trading in the red.
In times like this... Download to Read More...
Why All Generations Should Practice Wise Financial Planning
Making Benchmarks More Personal
Is Your Life Insurance Policy on Auto Pilot?
Stay or Leave? Deciding Whether It’s Time to Go
5 Reasons Economic Optimism Should Be Your New Year’s Resolution
Unnecessary Fears and the Resilience of Bond Markets.
Maximizing the Power of Diversification.
How do you see your retirement? Do you have a clear picture of what you want or how much you’ll need?
Despite U.S. markets returning to record highs recently, many investors are anxious that a major pullback is around the corner. While a pullback is always possible, a better understanding of the market’s fundamental drivers can help reduce your investment fears.
Diversified portfolios can help investors when interest rates rise because different asset classes react differently to changes in rates. Since no one knows exactly when interest rates will rise or fall, a diversified portfolio may also prevent investors from losing out on return opportunities that are available to disciplined investors.
Since hitting a bear-market low in March 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has jumped over 118 percent, returning to the record levels seen in the fall of 2007. While the headline certainly grabs attention, there’s one burning question on the minds of many investors: Is now a good time to get in?