Different Strokes

William Ehart  |  August 27, 2020

TARGET-DATE FUNDS offer one-stop investment shopping. But what exactly are you buying?
These funds are intended to offer a diversified portfolio that’ll carry you through to retirement and beyond. Each follows a “glide path,” reducing its stock exposure over time. But the substantial differences among the funds means that some roads will be rockier than others, so it’s important to understand what you’re getting.
For instance, young investors in 2060 target-date funds—like my children—will have 90% or more in stocks.

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Shifting Gears

Kyle McIntosh  |  August 26, 2020

AFTER 23 YEARS working in corporate finance for companies such as Amgen and Patagonia, I’m making a career switch this fall, becoming a fulltime lecturer at California Lutheran University. While I always enjoyed my corporate roles and liked my colleagues, I’ve long had a passion for teaching and wanted to make it my fulltime work.
While some co-workers and friends assumed this change was an impulsive decision driven by a midlife crisis or brought on by some epiphany while working at home during the pandemic,

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Taking Credit

Richard Quinn  |  August 25, 2020

BACK IN APRIL, I wrote the last in a series of articles about my ill-fated cruise around South America, the last few weeks of which were spent in quarantine. In that article, I mentioned efforts to obtain a refund for airline tickets we bought to fly home but couldn’t use, because the ship was refused permission to dock in Punta Arenas, Chile.
For several weeks after our return home, I attempted to get the refund.

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11 Remodeling Tips

Dennis Friedman  |  August 24, 2020

WE JUST STARTED remodeling our house. I knew it would be an expensive project. Indeed, my next-door neighbor warned me about the difficulty of controlling costs.
He said they netted $250,000 from the sale of their old house. Their plan was to remodel their current home and use the remaining proceeds to pay off the mortgage on their vacation property. But unfortunately, they blew through their remodeling budget and didn’t have enough left over to pay off the other mortgage.

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Portfolio Checkup

Adam M. Grossman  |  August 23, 2020

THE STOCK MARKET hit a milestone last week, surpassing its pre-coronavirus all-time high. There’s a lot of debate about whether this is justified or sustainable. But the bottom line is, your portfolio today probably looks very different from the way it looked six months or a year ago. This may be a good time to take stock of what you own and to consider whether changes are warranted.
Back in February, I talked about the importance of asset allocation—and that’s a critical first step.

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Think Like Eeyore

Jonathan Clements  |  August 22, 2020

FOR THOSE WHO know their A.A. Milne, they’ll recall Eeyore as Winnie the Pooh’s perennially gloomy donkey friend. Which brings me to my inner Eeyore—and a thought provoked by the stock market’s astonishing recovery.
Now that the S&P 500 is once again hitting new highs, it’s time to prepare for the next bear market. No, I haven’t reduced my stock holdings as share prices have bounced back and, no, I’m not predicting that another crash is imminent.

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Lesson Well Learned

Brian White  |  August 21, 2020

WHEN I BEGAN investing in 1987 at age 33, I knew very little about the financial markets. As a new University of North Carolina employee, I just started having money taken from my paycheck each month and put in North Carolina’s 457 plan for state employees. A 457 plan is a deferred compensation plan, similar to a 401(k) plan, but the plans are offered by state and local governments, and they’re subject to somewhat different rules.

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Fatal Attraction

Sanjib Saha  |  August 20, 2020

HOW WOULD YOU feel about a stock market strategy that routinely invests more after prices go up and sells when prices drop? As someone who invests for the long haul, I’m skeptical—which is why the increasing popularity of leveraged exchange-traded funds (ETFs) puzzles me.
A leveraged ETF aims to amplify the daily return of its stated benchmark. The fund’s benchmark might be a widely followed stock or bond index, a particular market sector, a single industry or one country.

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Victims of the Virus

Richard Connor  |  August 19, 2020

SOCIAL SECURITY retirement benefits are one of the most complicated topics in financial planning. As you try to figure out how much you might receive, there are thousands of rules, different types of benefit and numerous scenarios to evaluate.
And then there’s the impact of COVID-19.
It turns out that this year’s economic slump, which caused the economy to shrink by a tenth in the second quarter, may interact with Social Security’s methodology to hurt those who turn age 60 in 2020.

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Life as a Loan Shark

Joe Kesler  |  August 18, 2020

THE SPEAKER was passionate. “You bankers need to understand our culture is not like your culture. In our community, we don’t expect bills to be paid on time. If you’re really interested in serving our community, you need to adjust your expectations and not be asking us to change our culture in order to qualify for your loans.”
Wow, did I get an education some years ago, when my bank attempted to reach out to the town’s minority community.

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My Retirement

James McGlynn  |  August 17, 2020

AS I PLAN MY retirement, I have the advantage of a strong background in finance. I worked for 35 years in the investment field, primarily managing mutual funds. Early on, I obtained the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, which helped immensely.
Six years ago, when I was age 55, I embarked on a journey to comprehend the myriad rules and strategies surrounding retirement. I studied to become an RICP—a Retirement Income Certified Professional. While the CFA was useful for investment management,

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Don’t Feel Bad

Adam M. Grossman  |  August 16, 2020

LAST SUNDAY, I discussed six strategies that could help you avoid decisions you’ll regret. But what if it’s too late—and you’ve already made a financial choice that’s left you unhappy? Now what?
Below are six notions to help you manage, and hopefully minimize, your regret over past decisions:
1. Your imagined happy ending likely wouldn’t have happened. Back in 2004, I recall seeing an iPod for the first time. A co-worker had received one for Christmas.

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Getting Emotional

Jonathan Clements  |  August 15, 2020

WHEN A FAMILY opts to purchase a Mercedes rather than a Subaru, the rest of us might think they’re being extravagant. But you likely won’t find many people saying, “How stupid is that? They could’ve got around town for half the price.” We accept that a car isn’t a strictly utilitarian purchase.
But we aren’t nearly so forgiving when it comes to “suboptimal” investment and personal finance decisions. Today’s contention: We shouldn’t be too quick to deride the money choices made by others—and,

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Do as I Don’t

Richard Quinn  |  August 14, 2020

MOST OF US DON’T attempt to make a living trading stocks. Instead, investing is a long-term effort. We’re accumulating wealth to sustain us in retirement. Well, at least some of us try.
To that end, we need to save regularly over many decades, reinvest interest and dividends, and keep our eye on the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow.
How come we find this so hard? We get distracted. We start thinking short term.

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The Good Advisor

Robin Powell  |  August 13, 2020

WHAT ARE PEOPLE paying for when they seek out a financial planner? Where’s the real value? The answers may surprise you.
Financial planners typically tout their advice on asset allocation, retirement planning, cash flow analysis, insurance, wealth protection, estate planning and so on. But is that really the benefit they bring to consumers?
Consider an entirely different business. When you take your car to get serviced, what are you paying for? Brake repair, transmission diagnosis,

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