Turbulent Times: Bear Markets Come and Go

The longest bull market in history lasted almost 11 years before coronavirus fears and the realities of a seriously disrupted U.S. economy brought it to an end.1

Bear markets are typically defined as declines of 20% or more from the most recent high, and bull markets are sustained increases of 20% or more from the bear market low. But there is no official declaration, so often there are different interpretations and a fair amount of debate regarding when these cycles begin and end.  Continue reading “Turbulent Times: Bear Markets Come and Go”

Debit or Credit? Pick a Card

Americans use debit cards more often than credit cards, but they tend to use credit cards for higher-dollar transactions. The average value of a debit-card transaction in 2018 was just $36, while credit-card transactions averaged $89.1

This usage reflects fundamental differences between the two types of cards. A debit card acts like a plastic check and draws directly from your checking account, whereas a credit-card transaction is a loan that remains interest-free only if you pay your monthly bill on time. For this reason, people may use a debit card for regular expenses and a credit card for “extras.” However, when deciding which card to use, you should be aware of other differences.  Continue reading “Debit or Credit? Pick a Card”

How Women Are Different from Men, Financially Speaking

Women today have never been in a better position to achieve financial security for themselves and their families. What financial course will you chart?

We all know men and women are different in some fundamental ways. But is this true when it comes to financial planning? In a word, yes.

Everyone wants financial security. But women often face unique obstacles that can affect their ability to achieve it. Let’s look at some of these potential headwinds. Continue reading “How Women Are Different from Men, Financially Speaking”

The ABCs of Finance: Teaching Kids About Money

It’s never too soon to start teaching children about money. A few simple lessons will provide a solid foundation for a lifetime of financial decisions.

Whether they’re tagging along with you to the grocery store or watching you make purchases online, children quickly realize that we use money to buy the things we want. You can teach some simple lessons today that will give them a solid foundation for making a lifetime of sound financial decisions. Continue reading “The ABCs of Finance: Teaching Kids About Money”

Four Questions on the Roth Five-Year Rule

 

The Roth “five-year rule” typically refers to when you can take tax-free distributions of earnings from your Roth IRA, Roth 401(k), or other work-based Roth account. The rule states that you must wait five years after making your first contribution, and the distribution must take place after age 591⁄2, when you become disabled, or when your beneficiaries inherit the assets after your death. Roth IRAs (but not workplace plans) also permit up to a $10,000 tax-free withdrawal of earnings after five years for a first-time home purchase.

While this seems straightforward, several nuances may affect your distribution’s tax status. Here are four questions that examine some of them. Continue reading “Four Questions on the Roth Five-Year Rule”

Think Twice Before Speculating on a COVID-19 Cure

As hundreds of companies race to develop vaccines and drug therapies that could help end the COVID-19 pandemic, news reports on successful or failed trials affect individual stock prices and can trigger swings in the broader market. Understandably, this highly contagious virus — and its severe economic repercussions — has a knack for stirring up investors’ emotions. Continue reading “Think Twice Before Speculating on a COVID-19 Cure”