Are your dividends qualified or ordinary?

By: Kiplinger Consumer News Service
Posted on: October 05, 2020

At some point in almost every investor’s life, they’ll be alerted to the fact that they’re collecting “qualified dividends.” That inevitably prompts the natural question: What are qualified dividends? Ultimately, the importance of this distinction has to do with how you’re taxed on your dividends. The tax rate on qualified dividends is 15% for most taxpayers. (It’s zero ... READ MORE

Be sure to ‘opt out’ of paperless notices

By: Elliott Raphaelson
Posted on: September 08, 2020

On July 27, a new anti-consumer Labor Department regulation went into effect. The new rule gives retirement plans the right to quit mailing workers and retirees important disclosures on paper and simply send a notice by text or email, telling them that key pension information is available on a website. Then it is up to workers and retirees to hunt that information down. The Pension... READ MORE

Having good credit can save you money

By: Bev O'Shea
Posted on: September 08, 2020

Even if you don’t plan to borrow a dime, a good credit record is valuable. Think of it like a household fire extinguisher: It’s smart to have a good one even though you have no plans to use it. And your credit can influence your life in ways beyond borrowing. Here’s why good credit is so valuable: Flexibility in a crisis, more options If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us ... READ MORE

Candidates on Social Security, Medicare

By: Kiplinger Consumer News Service
Posted on: September 08, 2020

Unless Congress acts, Social Security will deplete its $2.9 trillion reserve fund by 2035, which means the program would be able to pay only about 79% of promised benefits. Medicare’s finances are even more precarious. Noting that seniors are a large voting constituency, both President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have resolved to protect Medicare and Social... READ MORE

Beirut explosion: Avoid charity scams

By: Kiplinger Consumer News Service
Posted on: September 08, 2020

After any disaster, many Americans open their hearts and wallets. During the pandemic alone, giving reached $10.2 billion by early May, with $6 billion of that coming from the U.S., according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. But scammers often prey on this generosity. For instance, if you’re planning to donate in the wake of the recent explosion that rocked the port of Beirut or... READ MORE

Probate workarounds may aid your heirs

By: Liz Weston
Posted on: August 14, 2020

A reader recently reached out after his elderly mother died, asking how soon he could distribute the $10,000 she had earmarked in her will for each of her two grandchildren. Because she lived in California, I had to break the bad news: He won’t be able to hand over the money any time soon. Probate is the court process to distribute someone’s estate after their death, even if there ... READ MORE