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Kiplinger's Personal FinanceKiplinger's Personal Finance

Kiplinger's Personal Finance March 2017

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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12 Issues


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INTERACT SMART MONEY MOVES IN 2017 Kim Lankford suggests eight critical tasks to pocket and preserve more of your money in the new year. LANKFORD @Kiplinger TRUMP’S FIRST 100 DAYS The Kiplinger Letter forecasts what to expect from the new administration in its first months on the job. MORRIS @djmorris55 CONNECT WITH US STAY UP TO DATE Keep Kiplinger at your fingertips and keep current on the latest stories by following us on Facebook and Twitter. FACEBOOK: KiplingerPersonalFinance TWITTER: @Kiplinger QUIZ YOURSELF WILL IT SINK YOUR CREDIT SCORE? Test your knowledge of everyday actions that might affect your credit score. TOOL MUTUAL FUND FINDER Get the latest data on any mutual fund, and sort and compare thousands of funds by rate of return, volatility, turnover rate and much more. ONLINE STORE DON’T MISS THIS FREE OFFER Kiplinger Alerts is an exciting…

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active or index funds?

This is the month when we present our annual rankings of mutual funds, in which actively managed funds predominate (see page 52). So it may seem counterintuitive that we’re also featuring a story on indexing, which is all the rage among investors. As senior associate editor Nellie Huang observes in her story on page 44, actively managed funds consistently struggle to beat the indexes. Over the past 15 years, only 35% of actively managed large-company U.S. stock funds have beaten Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. Little wonder that since 2010, investors have withdrawn a net $500 billion from actively managed U.S. stock funds and invested that amount in index-tracking mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. In a recent page one headline, the Wall Street Journal announced “The Dying Business of Picking…

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a trailblazer’s advice

TERRI KALLSEN REPLIES: I’m excited to hear that your daughter is interested in pursuing a career in finance! There are a multitude of options. Is she interested in analyzing or managing security portfolios? Accounting for clients or public firms? Working in wealth management and financial planning for individuals? The list is virtually endless. Her degree should be highly applicable, as would be an MBA. But no course of study is a silver bullet. If wealth management or personal finance is her focus, I would recommend pursuing a certified financial planner designation, which covers a wide array of subject matter, from securities analysis and asset allocation to tax, retirement and estate planning. Beyond passing the test, it requires a combination of education and experience in the industry. Most applicants begin the…

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the fallout from rising rates

THE “LOWER FOR LONGER” mantra for interest rates looks like it’s finished for now. In December, the Federal Reserve bumped up the rate it charges banks for overnight loans by 0.25 percentage point, to 0.75%. The hike in the federal funds rate was a long time coming after a quarterpoint increase in December 2015, and it is only the second hike in more than a decade. But rate watchers are expecting at least two more increases in 2017, as the economy strengthens and the Fed tries to keep a lid on inflation. Longer-term rates have already soared, with yields on 10-year Treasury bonds up from 1.4% last summer to 2.5% recently. Kiplinger expects the 10- year Treasury yield to reach 3% by year-end. Borrowers will feel the pinch of higher rates…

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protect points and miles from theft

Barry Kirk creates and consults on consumer loyalty programs for Maritz Motivation Solutions. Yahoo recently disclosed a 2013 breach that exposed personal information from more than 1 billion user accounts. Are loyalty rewards accounts vulnerable to hacking, too? Consumers tend not to see loyalty accounts as housing sensitive data. But points and miles are currencies that have a real dollar value, with $48 billion worth at stake among U.S. consumers, according to an industry study conducted a few years ago. That number is probably significantly higher now. Criminals recognize that the store of value sitting in unprotected loyalty programs is ripe for the picking. How do crooks steal points and miles? Criminals attempt to hack loyalty accounts daily. Sometimes they focus on a single account to, say, exchange rewards for airline tickets,…

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get free tax prep

Do-it-yourself filers who would prefer to give the IRS its due without shelling out money for the privilege have new options. Credit Karma, which offers free credit scores and reports, is offering free online federal and state tax preparation and e-filing for 2016 tax returns. H&R Block’s new offering, H&R Block More Zero, provides free tax prep and e-filing for taxpayers who claim the mostcommon deductions. For now, TurboTax’s free offering is limited to taxpayers who file Form 1040EZ or 1040A. Block, Turbo-Tax and other software companies are part of the IRS Free File program that offers free online prep and efiling for taxpayers with 2016 adjusted gross income of $64,000 or less. Some 90% of taxpayers will be eligible to use Credit Karma Tax, says Bethy Hardeman, of Credit Karma. But there…