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Past Losses Offer Winning Opportunities – September 2015
For nearly two decades, investors have been riding a stock market roller coaster. The late 1990s tech stock boom turned into a bust in the early years of this century, as the Dow Jones Total Stock Market Index fell by nearly 45%. After a real estate-led recovery pushed stocks to new highs, a real estate collapse dropped that index more than 50% from 2007 to 2008. Since then, the index has nearly tripled; as of this writing, U.S. stocks are near record levels.
How much does it cost to send a child to college now? For the 2014–2015 academic year, the College Board puts the average cost of tuition, fees and room and board at private nonprofit four-year schools at over $42,000. The College Board estimates other expenses (including books, supplies and transportation) at $4,000–$5,000. Thus, sending your child away to a private institution costs an average of around $47,000 this year; at universities considered “elite,” the total tab is generally well over $60,000. Those numbers likely will be even higher in the 2015–2016 school year, and they will certainly be higher for youngsters entering college in the future.
Many financial advisers warn clients that they should not try to time the stock market. Indeed, research indicates that individuals tend to buy when stocks are going up and sell when stocks have gone down: a buy-high and sell-low approach that reduces long-term returns. Consequently, some investment pros support a strategy known as “buy and hold.”
Winning Social Security’s Waiting Game – June 2015
As more baby boomers move into their 60s, there is increased interest in Social Security retirement benefits. In particular, seniors must decide when to start. Currently, the full retirement age (FRA) for Social Security is 66. That age applies to people born from 1943 through 1954. FRA gradually increases for younger workers, reaching 67 for those born in 1960 or later.
The stock market goes up and, as we’ve learned, it goes down. Despite the volatility, stocks have been excellent long-term investments for many decades, and there’s no reason to think that the future will be different. Regular investing in equities, through bull and bear markets, probably should be part of your strategy for building an investment portfolio you can tap in retirement.
Few people pay exactly the correct amount of income tax during the year. When you file your return for 2014, you probably will find that you paid too little (and owe more tax) or paid too much (and can request a refund). Typically, refunds are due to employees who have too much tax withheld from their paychecks.