The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 led to a surge in demand for vacation/second homes — mainly spurred by government shutdowns and stay-at-home advisories. Whether working remotely, attending school online, or meeting up with friends and family virtually, people found themselves spending more time than ever at home. If you are thinking about buying a vacation home, here are three things to consider before taking the plunge.
As measured by the Consumer Price Index for food at home, grocery prices increased 3.4% in 2020, a faster rate than the 20-year historical average of 2.4%.1 More recently, food inflation accelerated by 6.5% during the 12 months ending in December 2021, while prices for the category that includes meat, poultry, fish, and eggs spiked 12.5%.
Imagine stepping into an elevator and realizing that you’re about to spend the 30-second ride with someone who could make your retirement dreams come true — if only you could explain them before the doors open again. How would you summarize your financial situation, outlook, aspirations, and plans if you had 30 seconds to make an “elevator pitch” about achieving one of your most important goals?
Answering that question — and formulating your own unique retirement dream elevator pitch — could help bring your vision of the future into sharper focus.
The markets seemed to react with fear last week. The major indexes fell, with about 90% of S&P 500 stocks losing ground and every major market sector closing in the red. Investors turned to bonds, sending the price of 10-year Treasury notes up and the yield down. Wall Street is also preparing for what is expected to be the first 50-basis point increase in the federal funds rate since 2000, following the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee this Tuesday and Wednesday. The Nasdaq (-3.9%) and the Russell 2000 (-4.1%) led the drop in the indexes, followed by the S&P 500 (-3.3%), the Global Dow (-3.0%), and the Dow (-2.5%). Crude oil prices added more than $3.00 to climb past $104.00 per barrel. The dollar advanced, while gold prices slid.
Green bonds are debt instruments that corporations and governments can use exclusively to finance major climate-related or eco-friendly initiatives. Global issuance of green bonds reached a record $523 billion in 2021, and is expected to exceed $775 billion in 2022.
About 4.3 million U.S. workers quit their jobs voluntarily in December 2021, after a record 4.5 million quit in November — the largest number since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began recording voluntary job separations in December 2020.
The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019 changed the rules for taking distributions from retirement accounts inherited after 2019. The so-called 10-year rule generally requires inherited accounts to be emptied within 10 years of the original owner’s death, with some exceptions. Where an exception applies, the entire account must generally be emptied within 10 years of the beneficiary’s death, or within 10 years after a minor child beneficiary reaches age 21. This reduces the ability of most beneficiaries to spread out, or “stretch,” distributions from an inherited defined contribution plan or an IRA.
Baseball stadiums are filled with optimists. Fans start each new season with the hope that even if last year ended badly, this year could finally be the year. After all, teams rally mid-season, curses are broken, and even underdogs sometimes make it to the World Series. As Yogi Berra famously put it, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”1 Here are a few lessons from America’s pastime that might inspire you to take a fresh look at your finances.
Wall Street closed lower last week as investors weighed mixed earnings data against increased certainty of aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. It was the third straight week of losses for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, while the Dow declined for the fourth consecutive week. The hawkish stance taken by the Fed has equities, particularly tech and growth shares, retreating. The small caps of the Russell 2000 fell the furthest last week, followed by the Nasdaq, the Global Dow, the S&P 500, and the Dow. Among the market sectors, only real estate and consumer staples posted weekly gains. Ten-year Treasury yields rose by 8 basis points as bond prices slid lower. Crude oil and gold prices declined, while the dollar advanced.
The COVID-19 recession and the continuing pandemic pushed many older workers into retirement earlier than they had anticipated. A little more than 50% of Americans age 55 and older said they were retired in Q3 2021, up from about 48% two years earlier, before the pandemic.