Kiplinger's Personal Finance July 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).

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12 Numéros

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3 min
investing secrets

I learned a new term: risk capacity (“From the Editor,” May). Although the term is new to me, I’ve been aware of the concept for 63 years. I started saving and investing in 1958, and I’ve been through all the up and down years since. I never sold in down years; I only bought more, dollar-cost averaging during my working years. Thankfully, my own risk capacity was boosted by a stable job, a solid pension and well-diversified long-term investments. I am still adding to investments to rebalance, and I am including dividend and defensive stocks. My big secret was keeping my investment life and daily life completely separate—although the dividends and capital gains now pay for long-term care. KENNETH B. JAROSCH ST. PAUL I’m 71 and have been retired since I was…

3 min
boom times ahead

On May 14, the day this issue goes to press, my wife and I will be “fully vaccinated”—our second COVID shots will take full effect. We have talked about celebrating, perhaps sitting down for a meal at our favorite neighborhood bistro, rather than carrying out, for the first time in 14 months. We made plane reservations to attend a family wedding in Maine in June. Besides the air travel, that will mean hotel stays, dinners and drinks with extended family, and even awkward exertions on the dance floor. Our calibrated emergence from lockdown is being replicated throughout the U.S. As of mid May, more than 150 million Americans had received at least one vaccine shot, and vaccinated (and unvaccinated) folks are traveling again, going to bars and restaurants, going to baseball…

3 min
america is getting older

IF IT SEEMS AS IF AN ASSISTED-living complex is going up on every other corner and half of the commercials on the evening news are for arthritis remedies, you’re not imagining things. The U.S. is rapidly aging, and businesses are responding. The percentage of people in the U.S. who are 65 and older has grown by nearly 35% in the past decade, and by 2040, about one in five Americans will be 65 or older, up from one in eight in 2000. Although it’s comforting for seniors to be surrounded by people their own age, the trend is troubling from an economic standpoint. Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau in April showed that the country’s population grew by 7.4% over the past decade, the slowest rate since the 1930s. The national…

3 min
the best way to build wealth

Jack Brennan is the former CEO of Vanguard Group and author of More Straight Talk on Investing, an updated edition of the book first published in 2002. Mobile apps such as Robinhood have made it easy for investors to become active traders in hot stocks, such as GameStop. What do you think of this trend? It’s not wise. The idea that trading is the way you invest your serious money is misguided. It has never been effective. And my own view is it will never be an effective way to do it. Empirical study after empirical study shows that individuals who are active traders underperform buy-and-hold investors. Bitcoin has soared in value, and lately SPACs—special purpose acquisition companies—have been getting a lot of buzz. Do these investments have a role in individual…

3 min
guard against pandemic scams

IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD, scammers are looking for their next mark, and the billions of dollars in government benefits delivered during the pandemic created numerous opportunities for fraud. It’s not just money that con artists are after; they’re also trying to persuade you to share sensitive information they can use to steal your identity. Common targets for fraud: Unemployment benefits. Unemployment-benefits fraud skyrocketed during the pandemic as millions of people filed for benefits for the first time. The claims overwhelmed the ability of some states to process unemployment-benefits applications, and some states lacked measures to verify that the applications were legitimate, says Pete Eskew, senior vice president, public sector, at, an identification-verification software company. In addition, some states removed authentication measures in an effort to speed up the processing…

1 min
seniors will get a raise

AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF TEPID COST-OF-LIVING increases, seniors are likely to get a significant raise in their Social Security benefits in 2022. The Kiplinger Letter is forecasting that the annual cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits for 2022 will be 4.5%, the biggest jump since 2008, when benefits rose 5.8%. Meanwhile, the Senior Citizens League, an advocacy group, projects that the annual cost-of-living adjustment for 2022 will be 4.7%, although it notes that the inflation rate has been volatile and could change before the final adjustment in October. The projected increase reflects the rebound of consumer prices that were depressed during the pandemic. Gasoline prices have been rising steadily since the beginning of the year and are expected to keep going up as summer travel increases. Other consumer prices are also expected…