By now, you’ve probably heard the news: Your own behavioral biases are often the greatest threat to your financial well-being. As investors, we leap before we look. We stay when we should go. We cringe at the very risks that are expected to generate our greatest rewards. All the while, we rush into nearly every move, only to fret and regret them long after the deed is done.
Whether it’s sudden and unexpected or after an already lengthy ordeal, there’s nothing that can prepare you for losing your spouse. Here are some helpful handholds to hang onto if you have been recently widowed (or you know someone who has), plus preemptive steps to take if you’re reading this in happier times.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document by which you give someone else the legal capacity to do things for you, in your name, as if you were doing them yourself. every adult should designate an agent and execute a Power of Attorney. Disease, dementia, stroke or anything else can cause you to become incapacitated and unable to take care of your financial and other matters. Life is never certain but designating an agent is.
A sound retirement income plan takes into account several financial risks, including the potential for the retiree to outlive his or her assets, the effects of inflation on future income, rising health care costs, and the uncertain future of the Social Security system. The overall objective of planning should be to create a sustainable stream of income that also has the potential to increase over time.
So much of investing is beyond our control (picking stock prices, timing market movements and so on), it’s nice to know that there are still a number of “power tools” we can employ to potentially enhance your bottom line. Tax-loss harvesting is one such instrument … although the analogy holds true in a couple of other ways: It’s best used skillfully, and only when it is the right tool for the task.
Wall Street’s product pushers have figured out a way to swipe the name from this traditional household workhorse and turn it into a monster money-maker … for themselves, that is. We’re talking about “structured” or “market-linked” CDs. The name may seem familiar, but the rules of engagement are quite a bit different.
With school back in session in most of the country, many parents are likely thinking about how best to prepare for their children’s future college expenses. Now is a good time to sharpen one’s pencil for a few important lessons before heading back into the investing classroom to tackle the issue.
It’s no surprise that this year’s U.S. presidential race has become a subject of conversation around the globe. So go ahead and talk politics all you please – and if you are an American, be sure to vote. But when it comes to your investments, it’s best to ignore any intense emotions and the dire or ebullient predictions that spring from them, as dangerous distractions to your financial resolve.
Charitably minded and holding significant assets in an IRA? If you are thinking about making a donation to charity, consider a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from your IRA. A new law finally makes these transfers a permanent planning option.