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Why I Own Bonds

Dennis Friedman  |  Nov 16, 2021

SOME INVESTORS TODAY are avoiding bonds because rising interest rates could cause the price of bonds to fall. I’m not one of them. Bond funds continue to play a significant role in my investment portfolio. Here are eight reasons I’m sticking with my funds:

This isn’t a good time to sell. Bonds have already factored in the market’s expectation that rates will rise. Interest rates have climbed this year, causing a decline in bond prices.

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Trust Betrayed

Jiab Wasserman  |  Nov 16, 2021

BEFORE I RETIRED, I was a credit risk manager. I had to take compliance courses annually. One course focused on financial abuse, especially of the elderly. I learned that the most common perpetrators are not strangers, but family members, friends and caregivers who take advantage of too-trusting seniors.

But it’s one thing to know this theoretically—and quite another to find out it’s happening in your own family.

I previously wrote about now both my late father and his close friend were victims of financial abuse.

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All in the Execution

Phil Kernen  |  Nov 15, 2021

A FRIEND WAS RECENTLY asked by his father to be executor of his estate—and, without hesitation, my friend agreed. But then the conversation quickly moved on to other topics, leaving my friend confused about his role.
My suggestion to my friend: Have another conversation with your dad—and ask these four questions:
What are your expectations? Someone who creates a will is known as a testator. The primary role of an executor is to settle the testator’s estate.

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Mind the Gap

Michael Flack  |  Nov 15, 2021

MY WIFE WILL BE eligible for Medicare in March 2022. To better understand the process, we signed up for a webinar given by Matt, a Medigap insurance broker. Matt did a good job explaining the issues we faced, so we made an appointment to talk with him on the phone—even though he gave off a used car salesman vibe when, at the end of his presentation, he exhorted us to make an appointment before they all filled up.

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Spending Nervously

Mike Zaccardi  |  Nov 14, 2021

IT’S CRUNCH TIME for retailers. Black Friday, it’s said, is the day many stores finally turn a profit for the year. While that’s a myth, there’s no doubt analysts will be watching closely to see how consumers spend the extra cash generated by stimulus checks and an improving economy.
Americans sure seem ready to spend. According to Creditcards.com, approximately four in 10 shoppers are willing to go into or add to debt for this year’s holiday spending.

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Phoning It In

David Powell  |  Nov 14, 2021

THOSE PAPER COVID-19 vaccination cards weren’t designed for heavy use. Yet many jurisdictions require proof of vaccination to enter a restaurant, theater, museum or sports event. How do we avoid wearing out the card when we’re constantly pulling it out of our purse, pocket or wallet? Simple. Provide digital proof of your vaccine status.
There are some state-specific mobile apps that do this, like New York’s Excelsior Pass, as well as proprietary apps like Clear and Azova.

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Rethinking My Mix

Catherine Horiuchi  |  Nov 13, 2021

ASSET ALLOCATION is usually a set-it-and-forget-it exercise. At least, that’s how I’ve handled it until now. I decided on my appetite for risk, then set my stock-bond ratio accordingly.
I tallied everything once or twice a year, and then rebalanced. I’d apply a portion of my winning positions to my less successful asset classes. Rebalancing this way forced me to buy low and sell high. Combined with dollar-cost averaging, it’s an investing approach that’s served me well for more than 20 years.

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Fed Up

John Lim  |  Nov 13, 2021

IS THE U.S. ECONOMY strong or weak? If you believe it’s strong—and apparently many investors do, judging by the U.S. stock market’s all-time highs—why is the Federal Reserve keeping the federal funds rate at zero? These days, it seems like we take the Fed’s policy of 0% short-term interest rates for granted. Yet such policy measures are truly extraordinary and typically reserved for an economy that’s in the ICU.
On the other hand, if you believe the U.S.

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Mixed Bag

William Ehart  |  Nov 12, 2021

MY LAST BLOG POST—about value-oriented Dodge & Cox Stock Fund—got me looking at the long-term returns for some highly touted large- and mid-cap growth and blend funds from 15 years ago. My surprise: Of the 15 funds in my admittedly unscientific sample, six went on to outpace both the S&P 500 and an index fund focused on the same market segment.

The six winners are boldfaced in the accompanying table. Note: For two of the winners,

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Who’s a Senior?

Mike Drak  |  Nov 11, 2021

I SEE THIS LABEL used a lot. But it hit me that I really didn’t know what “senior” means. I know it’s used to describe old people. But truthfully, I don’t know what “old” means, either.
We’ve been manipulated into believing that, when we turn 65, we automatically turn old—which isn’t true. It’s a mistake to label people based on their age, because biological age can vary considerably from chronological age. A person’s age is a meaningless number unless we’re dealing with hard-and-fast rules,

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‘Tis the Season

Richard Connor  |  Nov 11, 2021

OPEN ENROLLMENT begins in early November for many employees. This is a great time to see if you’re making the most of your workplace benefits, especially flexible spending accounts, or FSAs.
FSAs allow you to deduct pretax dollars from your paycheck for medical, adoption, commuting and dependent-care expenses. There are some new rules for the accounts this year in response to the pandemic.
First, the basics: During open enrollment, you tell your employer how many dollars you want deducted for these accounts over the next year.

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Coloring the Results

Greg Spears  |  Nov 10, 2021

GREEN INVESTORS TRY to manage their portfolios in ways that are good for the Earth. But are they rewarded with good investment returns? Researchers believe the answer is a qualified “yes,” according to a new paper titled “Dissecting Green Returns.”
The paper found that, between 2012 and 2020, U.S. green stocks delivered higher returns than environmentally unfriendly “brown” companies. But the paper argues this outperformance—which averaged about 0.65% a month—is unlikely to persist.
“Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance,

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Retirement Pro

Richard Quinn  |  Nov 10, 2021

I’VE AWARDED MYSELF a professional designation: CER, or Certified Experienced Retiree. In the dozen years since I left the workforce, I’ve learned a great deal about retirement. I’ve grappled with the financial aspects, how your relationships with family and friends evolve, and how your outlook changes over time.

One key lesson learned: A steady income stream provides peace of mind. In my case, it’s from a pension and Social Security. For younger retirees, it could mean drawing savings from a 401(k) or IRA,

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Refinancing—Again

James McGlynn  |  Nov 9, 2021

I HAD A NEW HOME built in 2017. I financed it with a 30-year mortgage at a 3.875% interest rate.
Early last year, when interest rates dropped due to the pandemic, I suggested that readers refinance. I took my own advice, replacing my 30-year loan with a 15-year mortgage at 2.99%. The cost of refinancing seemed well worth the reduction in my loan interest rate.
Two months ago, I saw that mortgage rates had continued to decline,

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Forever War

Andrew Forsythe  |  Nov 9, 2021

THE ABOVE HEADLINE doesn’t refer to Afghanistan. Even that 20-year struggle has finally come to an end. This is about an even more relentless campaign—against the cable company. In my case, that means Spectrum, part of Charter Communications.
The first question is, why haven’t I cut the cord? The short answer: My wife loves sports on TV and cable seems to be the only way to get all her favorites.
As cable victims know,

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