Decorated Christmas tree branch with holiday pastry

A Season of Firsts: Financial Tips for New Widows and Divorcees During the Holidays

As any new widow or divorcee knows, the initial year after her transition is full of firsts—the first birthday alone, the first anniversary alone, the first vacation alone—and among the most challenging of these can be the first holiday season alone. “The most wonderful time of the year” may not feel so great this year and the […]

closeup of electronic calculator buttons

The Complexities of Capital Gains Rates

Most of us know that taxes on capital gains are more favorable than other types of taxable income.  For “ordinary income”, the tax brackets have rates of 0%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%.  Ordinary income is comprised of things like wages, interest income, and IRA distributions, among other things. To contrast, capital gain rates are 0%, 15% or 20%. […..]

Close up of padlock and credit card for credit card safety concept

Credit Freezes, Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

Credit freezes are one of the most effective ways for consumers to protect themselves against identity theft.  Data breaches at banks, healthcare providers, insurance companies and credit processors have left consumers vulnerable to fraudsters, and freezing access to your credit file may help you avoid becoming a victim. What exactly is a credit freeze?  A credit freeze[…..]

antiques in market

Are you thinking about donating “big ticket” items of property to charity? Beware of these IRS new regulations

Ten years ago, the Internal Revenue Service proposed regulations that would define how to value (and prove the actual value) of non-cash donations of $5,000 and over to charity.  The regulations involved things like artwork, jewelry, antiques and other possessions whose value is often in the eye of the beholder. Now, a decade later, the IRS has[…..]

saving

U.S. Savings Rate: Better than we thought (but not good enough)

Quick: What is America’s national savings rate?  If you guessed less than 5%, you’d be close, but the scarier figure reported by the U.S. government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) this year was just over 2%. This precipitous decline in savings by Americans has been the source of a lot of hand-wringing especially when compared to their[…..]

US dollar versus China yuan

What to Make of the 2018 “Trade War”

The past few weeks, we’ve finally seen evidence that the investment markets are getting jittery about the escalating tit-for-tat tariffs and threats of tariffs that some economists are calling “America vs. the World.”  Many investors are wondering whether new taxes on items flowing into and out of the U.S. really are something to worry about and the[…..]

Apps for Boosting Brain Power

It’s no secret that as we age, our brain function declines.  Whether it’s to focus, stay sharp, or reduce stress and anxiety, there are various reasons for wanting to boost brainpower and improve mood. Studies have suggested that keeping mentally active may help maintain cognitive functioning and psychological well-being.  Brain training apps may improve memory, problem solving[…..]