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How can I teach my high school student the importance of financial literacy?

Even though your child is just in high school, he or she may still have to deal with certain financial challenges. Whether this involves saving for an important purchase like a car or learning how to use a credit card responsibly, it’s important for your high schooler to have a basic understanding of financial literacy concepts in order to manage his or her finances more effectively. While financial literacy offerings in schools have increased in popularity, a recent study…

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When should I file the FAFSA?

The FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the federal government’s financial aid application. The FAFSA is a prerequisite for federal student loans, grants, and work-study. In addition, colleges typically require the FAFSA before distributing their own need-based aid and, in some cases, merit-based aid. For the 2020-2021 school year, the FAFSA can be filed as early as October 1, 2019. Whether you have a senior in high school or a returning college student, it’s…

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Social Security: Shoring Up America’s Safety Net

Ever since a legal secretary named Ida May Fuller received the first Social Security retirement check in 1940, Americans have been counting on Social Security to provide much needed retirement income. For many older Americans, Social Security is their main source of guaranteed retirement income — income that continues throughout their lifetimes and is indexed for inflation every year (in 2019, the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, was 2.8%). Social Security provides more than just retirement income, though. It also…

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Five Retirement Lessons from Today’s Retirees

Each year for its Retirement Confidence Survey, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) surveys 1,000 workers and 1,000 retirees to assess how confident they are in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement. Once again, in 2019, retirees expressed stronger confidence than workers: 82% of retirees reported feeling “very” or “somewhat” confident, compared with 67% of workers. A closer look at some of the survey results reveals various lessons today’s workers can learn from current retirees. Current sources of…

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Do Millennials Need Life Insurance?

The financial challenges millennials face can be overwhelming. Many young adults have to figure out how to pay off college loans, save to buy a home or start a family, and sock away money for retirement. Given these hurdles, it’s no wonder that life insurance as a financial asset gets little to no attention. But it should. There are many reasons to have life insurance at a relatively young age, but here are some common ones. Leaving your debts…

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How can you avoid falling for the Social Security imposter scam?

The scam generally starts like this. You answer a call or retrieve a voicemail message that tells you to “press 1” to speak to a government “support representative” for help in reactivating your Social Security number. The number on your caller ID looks real, so you respond. The “agent” you reach tells you that your Social Security number has been suspended due to suspicious activity or because it has been involved in a crime. You’re worried. You know how…

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What are the warning signs of financial scams targeting older individuals?

If you or someone you know has been targeted by a scam artist who is trying to steal money or personal information, you’re not alone. According to the enate Special Committee on Aging, older Americans lose an estimated $2.9 billion annually to fraud and exploitation, a number that is probably substantially underreported.1 Most scams start with a call, an email, a text, or an official-looking letter that appears to be from a government agency or a legitimate company. Sometimes…

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Key Estate Planning Documents

Estate planning is the process of managing and preserving your assets while you are alive, and conserving and controlling their distribution after your death. There are four key estate planning documents almost everyone should have regardless of age, health, or wealth. They are: a durable power of attorney, advance medical directives, a will, and a letter of instruction. Durable power of attorney Incapacity can happen to anyone at any time, but your risk generally increases as you grow older….

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Market Strategies: Three Ways to Play Defense in Your Stock Portfolio

Defensive investment strategies share a common goal — to help a portfolio better weather an economic downturn and/or bouts of market volatility. But there are some key differences, including the specific criteria by which particular stocks are selected. If you are nearing retirement or just have a more conservative risk tolerance, one of these defensive strategies may help you manage risk while maintaining a robust equity portfolio. Tilt toward value Growth and value are opposite investment styles that tend…

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Do I need to pay estimated tax?

Taxpayers are required to pay most of their tax obligation during the year by having tax withheld from their paychecks or pension payments, or by making estimated tax payments. Estimated tax is the primary method used to pay tax on income that isn’t subject to withholding. This typically includes income from self-employment, interest, dividends, and gain from the sale of assets. Estimated tax is used to pay both income tax and self-employment tax, as well as other taxes reported…

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