Kiplinger's Personal Finance December 2020

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
USD 4.99
USD 19.95
12 Números

en este número

1 min.

ONLINE SHOPPING DISCOUNTS Save every time you shop online with coupon codes, free-shipping deals and price comparisons from these 16 deal sites and browser extensions. TAX TIPS FOR SNOWBIRDS The goal for folks who spend their winters in Florida is to be taxed as a Florida resident and pay no state income tax. Here are 17 ways to make your case. MEDICARE MISTAKES TO AVOID Missing Medicare sign-up deadlines and selecting the wrong coverage can lead to penalties and higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Profit from the best of Kiplinger delivered to your e-mail inbox every weekday. Sign up for our Kiplinger Today e-newsletter at FACEBOOK: KiplingerPersonalFinance TWITTER: @Kiplinger…

3 min.
a paycheck for life

Your October cover story spent a lot of attention on annuities and had a surprising number of positive things to say about them (“How to Create Income for Life”). There was little mention of the paltry returns annuities receive in the current low-interest-rate environment, and virtually no exposition was given on the high fees and expenses annuities have when including equities and other alternatives within them. I believe that if most people realized they could just put their retirement savings in stable balanced mutual funds, and take a monthly distribution based on selling shares, they would not pay so much of their hard-earned retirement savings to an insurance company just to have a level, guaranteed monthly check. If people realized that the stock market downturns that annuity companies use in…

3 min.
getting good service

While we were in Michigan over the summer, our Washington, D.C., house was undergoing a serious makeover. When we embarked on this project, friends and family warned us about the delays and disappointments we were likely to face with the contractor. It wouldn’t matter who, they said. It’s just the nature of the business. After we negotiated and signed the contract, I steeled myself for uncomfortable interactions and veiled threats to keep the work flowing and the quality high—from 800 miles away. But our contractor turned out to be a different, perhaps old-fashioned, breed. We chose Randy because unlike the other contractors we interviewed, he runs a family operation, with two sons working alongside him, and his wife in charge of the bookkeeping and billing. He would be there every day…

4 min.
the holidays won’t be canceled

IN A YEAR THAT COMPELLED US to revamp the way we work, where our children go to school and what we do for fun, the 2020 holiday shopping season will look markedly different, too. With a COVID-19 vaccine still months away from broad availability, many people are reluctant to go to stores and malls, so perhaps it’s not surprising that more than two out of three shoppers surveyed by said they plan to do most of their seasonal shopping online this year. The Kiplinger Letter forecasts that online sales will jump by 28% this year as Americans continue to use their phones and tablets to buy holiday gifts. But the pandemic isn’t the only factor driving this trend. Nearly 70% of shoppers said that convenience was the main reason they…

3 min.
r.i.p. 60-40 portfolio

Jared Woodard is head of the Research Investment Committee at BofA Securities. What is the 60-40 portfolio, and why has it been the go-to model for many investors? In a 60-40 portfolio, 60% of assets are invested in stocks and 40% in bonds—often government bonds. The reason it has been popular over the years is that traditionally, in a bear market, the government bond portion of a portfolio has functioned as insurance by providing income to cushion stock losses. In addition, bonds tend to rise in price as stock prices fall. Why do you say that the 60-40 portfolio is dead? The problem is that as yields on bonds head lower and lower—the 10-year Treasury note pays 0.7% per year—there’s less return in fixed-income securities for buy-and-hold investors. So that insurance works…

1 min.
seniors will get a modest raise in 2021

SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFICIARIES WILL GET a cost-of-living increase in 2021, but it won’t be sufficient to keep up with the rising cost of health care. The Social Security Administration says seniors will receive a 1.3% cost-of-living increase in 2021, or about $20 a month for the average beneficiary. The annual adjustment was based on changes in the consumer price index in the third quarter. Low inflation has depressed annual cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits in recent years. The COLA hasn’t risen by more than 3% since 2012, and it was flat in 2010, 2011 and 2016. “People who have been receiving benefits for 12 years or longer have experienced an unprecedented series of extremely low cost-of-living adjustments,” Mary Johnson, Social Security policy analyst for the Senior Citizens League, an advocacy group…