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.
When you open an account or update an existing account at a brokerage or a financial firm, you may be asked you if you want to designate a “trusted contact.” This individual may be contacted in certain situations such as when financial exploitation is suspected or there are other concerns about your health, welfare, or whereabouts. Naming a trusted contact is optional, but may help protect your account assets.
The person you name as a trusted contact must be at least 18 years old. You’ll want to choose someone who can handle the responsibility and who will always act in your best interest — this might be a family member, close friend, attorney, or third-party professional. You may also name more than one trusted contact.
Understandably, you might be concerned that the person you name could make transactions in your account but that’s not the case. Your trusted contact will not be able to access your account or make financial decisions on your behalf (unless you previously authorized that person to do so). You are simply giving the financial firm permission to contact the person you have named.
Here are some examples of times when a financial firm might need to reach out to your trusted contact.
To confirm current contact information when you can’t be reached
If financial exploitation or fraud is suspected
To validate your health status if the firm suspects you’re sick or showing signs of cognitive decline
To identify any legal guardian, executor, trustee, or holder of a power of attorney on your account
A firm may only share reasonable types of information with your trusted contact. U.S. broker-dealers are required to provide a written disclosure that includes details about when information might be shared. Ask your financial firm or professional if you have any questions about the trusted contact agreement.
You may add, remove, or change your trusted contact at any time, and you’ll need to keep your contact’s information up-to-date. It’s also a good idea to let the person you’ve chosen know so that he or she is prepared to help if necessary.
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.
When inflation began rising in the spring of 2021, many economists, including policymakers at the Federal Reserve, believed the increase would be transitory and subside over a period of months. One year later, inflation has proven to be more stubborn than expected. It may be helpful to look at some of the forces behind rising prices, the Fed’s plan to combat them, and early signs that inflation may be easing.
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.