The Turkish Currency Crisis Facebook Google+ Twitter LinkedIn Email WhatsApp A look at why it matters so much to the world, and the risk of a domino effect.  The collapse of the Turkish lira has become a major financial story. You may wonder why the financial media is devoting so much space to this, as Turkey is not exactly China or Japan or Germany. The fear is that Turkey’s problem hints at a greater crisis.1,2   Globally speaking, Turkey is not all that minor. Its economy is the world’s seventeenth largest, and while it is seen as an emerging market, it

Why the U.S. Might Be Less Affected by a Trade War Facebook Google+ Twitter LinkedIn Email WhatsApp The nature of our economy could help it withstand the disruption. A trade war does seem to be getting underway. Investors around the world see headwinds arising from newly enacted and planned tariffs, headwinds that could potentially exert a drag on global growth (and stock markets). How badly could these trade disputes hurt the American economy? Perhaps not as dramatically as some journalists and analysts warn.1,2 Our business sector may be impacted most. Undeniably, tariffs on imported goods raise costs for manufacturers. Costlier

Starting a Roth IRA for a Child or Grandchild This early financial decision could prove profoudly positive over time. Facebook Google+ Twitter LinkedIn Email Do you have a child or grandchild earning some income? Indirectly, that after-school or summer job might present a savings opportunity for that teenager. You could help your child or grandchild save for future goals by assisting them to create and fund a Roth IRA. So many people wish they had begun saving for retirement sooner. Imagine how your child or grandchild’s prospects for building lifetime retirement savings might improve by starting as soon as possible.      Here

Are Changes Ahead for Retirement Accounts? A bill now in congress proposes to alter some longstanding rules. Facebook Google+ Twitter LinkedIn Email Most Americans are not saving enough for retirement, despite ongoing encouragement to do so (and recurring warnings about what may happen if they do not). This year, lawmakers are also addressing this problem, with a bill proposing big changes to IRAs and workplace retirement plans.    The Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA), introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch, would amend the Internal Revenue Code and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in some significant ways.1      Contributions to

Tax Changes Around the Home How the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act impacted three popular deductions. Facebook Google+ Twitter LinkedIn Email Three recent tax law changes impact homeowners and home-based businesses. They may affect your federal income taxes this year.   The SALT deduction now has a $10,000 yearly limit. You can now only deduct up to $10,000 of some combination of (a) state and local property taxes or (b) state and local income taxes or sales taxes, annually. (Taxes paid or accumulated due to trade activity or business activity are exempt from the $10,000 limit.)1,2 If you have itemized for

The Snowball Effect Save and invest, year after year, to put the full power of compounding on your side. Facebook Google+ Twitter LinkedIn Email Have you been saving for retirement for a decade or more? In the foreseeable future, something terrific is likely to happen with your IRA or your workplace retirement plan account. At some point, its yearly earnings should begin to exceed your yearly contributions. Just when could this happen? The timing depends on several factors, and the biggest factor may simply be consistency – your ability to keep steadily investing and saving. The potential for this phenomenon

Guarding Against Identity Theft Take steps so criminals won’t take vital information from you. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email America is enduring a data breach epidemic. The latest annual study of the problem from Javelin Strategy & Research, a leading financial analytics research firm, says that 16.7 million people across the nation were impacted by I.D. theft in 2017 – an all-time high.1 The problem is getting worse – much worse. Last year, 30% of U.S. consumers were alerted about data breaches by firms holding their personal information. In 2016, just 12% of consumers were so affected.1       Social Security numbers were

Leaving a Legacy to Your Grandkids Now is the time to explore the possibilities. Facebook Email Twitter LinkedIn Grandparents Day provides a reminder of the bond between grandparents and grandchildren and the importance of family legacies.   A family legacy can have multiple aspects. It can include much more than heirlooms and appreciated assets. It may also include guidance, even instructions, about what to do with the gifts that are given. It should reflect the values of the giver. What are your legacy assets? Financially speaking, a legacy asset is something that will outlast you, something capable of producing income or

A primer for parents and grandparents. A university education can often require financing and assuming debt. If your student fills out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and does not qualify for a Pell Grant or other kinds of help, and has no scholarship offers, what do you do? You probably search for a student loan. A federal loan may make much more sense than a private loan. Federal student loans tend to offer kinder repayment terms and lower interest rates than private loans, so for many students, they are a clear first choice. The interest rate on

Comparing the old rules with the new. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made dramatic changes to federal tax law. It is worth reviewing some of these changes as 2019 approaches and households and businesses refine their income tax strategies. Income tax brackets have changed. The old 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6% brackets have been restructured to 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. These new percentages are slated to apply through 2025. Here are the thresholds for these brackets in 2018.1,2  Bracket Single Filers Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widower Married Filing Separately Head of

A to-do list for the twentysomething. Did you recently graduate from college? The years after graduation are crucial not only for getting a career underway, but also for planning financial progress. Consider making these money moves before you reach thirty.        Direct a bit of your pay into an emergency fund. Just a little cash per paycheck. Gradually build a cash savings account that can come in handy in a pinch.   Speaking of emergencies, remember health insurance. Without health coverage, an accident, injury, or illness represents a financial problem as well as a physical one. Insurance is your way of managing

How much can you contribute this year? In 2018, you have another chance to max out your retirement accounts. Here is a rundown of yearly contribution limits for the popular retirement savings vehicles. IRAs. The 2018 limits are the same as in 2016: $5,500 for IRA owners who will be 49 and younger this year and $6,500 for IRA owners who will be 50 or older this year. These limits apply to both Roth and traditional IRAs.1 What if you own multiple IRAs? This $5,500/$6,500 limit applies to your total IRA contributions for a calendar year. So, for example, should

What standbys did tax reforms eliminate?   Are the days of itemizing over? Not quite, but now that H.R. 1 (popularly called the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act) is the law, all kinds of itemized federal tax deductions have vanished.   Early drafts of H.R. 1 left only two itemized deductions in the Internal Revenue Code – one for home loan interest, the other for charitable donations. The final bill left many more standing, but plenty of others fell. Here is a partial list of the itemized deductions unavailable this year.1 Moving expenses. Last year, you could deduct such costs if

Take these financial lessons to heart. You have a chance to manage your money better than previous generations have. Some crucial financial steps may help you do just that.     Live below your means and refrain from living on margin. How much do you save per month? Generations ago, Americans routinely saved 10% or more of what they made, either depositing those savings or investing them. This kind of thriftiness is still found elsewhere in the world. Today, the average euro area household saves more than 12% of its earnings, and the current personal savings rate in Mexico is 20.6%.1

The notion that we separate from work in our sixties may have to go. An executive transitions into a consulting role at age 62 and stops working altogether at 65; then, he becomes a buyer for a church network at 69. A corporate IT professional decides to conclude her career at age 58; she serves as a city council member in her sixties, then opens an art studio at 70. Are these people retired? Not by the old definition of the word. Our definition of “retirement” is changing. Retirement is now a time of activity and opportunity.    Generations ago,

As the recovery lengthens further, this is a natural question to ask. This decade has brought a long economic rebound to many parts of America. As 2017 ebbs into 2018, some of the statistics regarding this comeback are truly impressive: *Payrolls have grown, month after month, for more than seven years. *The jobless rate is lower than it has been for more than a decade. *Business activity in the service sector has not contracted since the summer of 2009. *The economy just grew 3% or more in back-to-back quarters, a feat unseen since 2014.1,2     In the big picture, the American

Information for those giving, receiving, and organizing. Have you donated money to a crowdfunding campaign this year? You probably have. You may be wondering how the Internal Revenue Service treats these donations. Do the common tax rules apply?  The I.R.S. may or may not define such donations as charitable contributions. It depends not only on who the crowdfunding is for, but also who has organized the campaign. A donation to a qualified non-profit organization – a 501(c)(3) – is tax deductible if it is properly documented and itemized on Schedule A. Donations to crowdsourcing efforts administered by 501(c)(3)s are, likewise,

Our increased longevity poses a retirement planning challenge. Some of us may retire at 65 and live to 100 or 105. Advances in health care may make this a strong possibility. The corresponding question is: will we outlive our money?   More people are spending more of their lives in retirement. According to the actuaries at Social Security, today’s 65-year-olds have roughly a 25% chance of living into their nineties, and about one in ten will live to 100 or longer. Clearly, this puts a strain on Social Security. When it first sent out retirement benefits in 1940, the average life

Here are some things you might want to do before saying goodbye to 2017.  What has changed for you in 2017? Did you start a new job or leave a job behind? Did you retire? Did you start a family? If notable changes occurred in your personal or professional life, then you will want to review your finances before this year ends and 2018 begins.    Even if your 2017 has been relatively uneventful, the end of the year is still a good time to get cracking and see where you can plan to save some taxes and/or build a little