Kiplinger's Personal Finance February 2021

Written to help you do a better job of managing your personal and family financial affairs and to help you get more for your money. You get ideas on saving, investing, cutting taxes, making major purchases, advancing your career, buying a home, paying for education, health care and travel, plus much, much more. Special issues cover the latest information about car buying (December) and Mutual Funds (March and September).

United States
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46,87 $ CA(TVA Incluse)
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1 min
get more advice from kiplinger

HEALTH CARE STOCKS These 13 stock picks are likely to outperform in 2021 as the battle against COVID rages on. TAX-FREE RETIREMENT INCOME You can save a lot of money by retiring to one of these 12 states that exempt the most common types of retirement income from taxation. SURPRISE! IT’S TAXABLE Unemployment income, canceled debt and gifts from your employer are just a few of the surprising items for which the IRS wants its share. Kiplinger Today Profit from the best of Kiplinger delivered to your e-mail inbox every weekday. Sign up for our Kiplinger Today e-newsletter at…

4 min
customer service

In your rating of credit card issuers, you say that “complaints about purchases shown on a statement were common” (“Financial Service Firms That Treat You Like a Star,” Dec.). Credit card issuers are too difficult to deal with when there’s a disputed item on the card. I’ve had two recent experiences. One was a simple matter of double billing: two identical charges on the same date for the same purchase. That occurred because my first attempt failed (or so I thought after my credit card was declined), so I ordered by phone. Okay, that can happen. But it took six months and too much written correspondence to have one of the charges removed because the merchant wouldn’t cooperate. The second problem took 15 months to be resolved after 70-plus pages…

3 min
farewell to the office

We can all list numerous ways, good and bad, that the pandemic has altered our lives. It gets trickier to identify changes that will last long after the risk of COVID has faded. But for many people, working remotely is here to stay. My wife, Allyson, and I have been working remotely since mid March—initially from Michigan and lately from our Washington, D.C., home. In our northern Michigan house, we each have our own home office. In D.C., I have ceded the spare bedroom/home office to Allyson because, unlike me, she typically has back-toback video calls. My workday finds me perched on a stool at the kitchen island or slouched in one of the chairs next to the fireplace, having conversations with Alexa. In theory, we get to recapture time we used…

4 min
federal debt: a heavy load

AS RECENTLY AS 2007, THE amount of federal government debt—Treasury securities held by the public—was just 35% of gross domestic product. At the end of 2019, it was 79%, and it’s likely to hit 104% in 2021. It only gets worse: The debt will likely rise to 109% by 2030 and approach 200% of GDP by 2050, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. Those estimates don’t include another fiscal stimulus (which was being negotiated at press time) and assume Congress won’t extend tax breaks scheduled to expire in 2025. For most of us, that kind of balance sheet would be ruinous. Interest rates would eat away at our income, making it difficult to pay expenses. Certainly, that has been the traditional view of the federal government’s debt: As rising…

3 min
getting married? moving in together?

Certified financial planner Mari Adam is client advisor and branch manager for Mercer Advisors in Boca Raton, Florida. She is past president of the South Florida chapter of the Financial Planning Association. How can couples talk about money issues without feeling intimidated? We know that money is arguably the number one topic that couples fight about, so it’s really important to get it right. Couples need to make adequate time to talk and put all of their cards on the table. You want to do this when you are comfortable with the idea of being honest, transparent and nonjudgmental. Each partner needs to come clean about all of their debts—whether it’s credit card debt or student debt—their credit scores and more. If one partner has bad credit or debt that the other…

3 min
where middle class taxes are highest and lowest

ONE LASTING LEGACY OF THE coronavirus pandemic is that many people will be able to work from home permanently. That has compelled some workers who are no longer tethered to the office to consider moving—to the suburbs, for example, or to a place that’s less expensive or closer to family (see “Work From Home—Wherever That Is,” on page 38). But if you’re contemplating moving your family across state lines, consider how state and local taxes will affect your bottom line. Moving from a low-tax to a high-tax state could cost you thousands of dollars a year. To help families make smart choices, has created a state-by-state guide for middle-income families. Our analysis looked at the overall income, sales and property tax burden in each state for a hypothetical married couple with…