Refusing to pay hurts you more than them

By: Liz Weston

Oh, the injustice of it all. Who among us hasn’t felt abused as a consumer? We get billed for stuff we didn’t receive, or that doesn’t work, or that didn’t live up to its hype. Companies charge us unexpected fees and insist the costs were revealed in the fine print. Health insurers take customer disservice to a whole new, awful level, inexplicably refusing to pay for services... READ MORE

Reporting a tax-free transfer from your IRA to charity

By: Kimberly Lankford

Question: I have to take a $20,000 required minimum distribution from my Vanguard IRA this year. I’d like to give $5,000 tax-free to a charity and withdraw the remaining $15,000 for myself. A Vanguard rep said it would send me a check for $15,000 payable to me as well as a $5,000 check made payable to the charity that I could forward. The rep said that at the end of the year it would... READ MORE

How retirement savers can reduce RMDs

By: Brian Vnak

Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are the congressionally-mandated, annual taxable withdrawals from retirement accounts required of savers after they reach the age of 70½. The rules surrounding how and when to take RMDs are complicated and arcane, and taking them creates a ripple effect throughout your financial plan that could set you up for some unpleasant surprises. Those who... READ MORE

An alternative to Medicaid spend-down

By: Eleanor Laise

Picture this: Your spouse has made a permanent move to a nursing home. You don’t have long-term care insurance, Medicare won’t cover the cost, and you have too much money to qualify for Medicaid — but not nearly enough to afford the nursing-home bills. The monthly tab — easily $8,000 or more for a semi-private room — is rapidly depleting your nest egg. Now what? This is where a ... READ MORE

More risks stemming from hack of Equifax

By: Liz Weston

Long after the Equifax breach was announced, people were still struggling to freeze their credit reports as credit bureau websites failed, lured people to look-alike products, or even redirected visitors to download malicious software. But that’s just the start of the gauntlet people may have to run to protect their financial lives. The Equifax hack exposed the names,... READ MORE

Are your bonds lowering or raising risk?

By: Eleanor Laise

Most retirees hold a mix of stocks and bonds, assuming that their bonds will not only generate income but also cushion the fall if stocks crash. But are your bonds really taming your portfolio’s risk — or amping it up? For much of the past two decades, bonds could be depended on to zig when stocks zag. But now, some analysts and money managers are warning that the correlation between ... READ MORE