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September is National Preparedness Month, part of an effort by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to raise public awareness and inspire disaster readiness. Most communities could be impacted by some type of natural disaster, whether it’s a wildfire, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or flood. Here are some tips to help keep your family safe in an emergency and allow you to leave quickly with the items you need most. Gather important documents that may be...
On August 24, 2022, just a few days before federal student loan repayment was set to resume, President Biden announced a plan for additional student loan debt relief. Federal student loan repayment was originally halted in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic. The new plan extends the payment moratorium through the end of the year, offers partial debt cancellation, and includes proposed updates to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and a new...
In an early July poll, 58% of Americans said they thought the U.S. economy was in a recession, up from 53% in June and 48% in May.1 Yet many economic indicators, notably employment, remain strong. The current situation is unusual, and there is little consensus among economists as to whether a recession has begun or may be coming soon.2 Considering the high level of public concern, it may be helpful to look at how a recession...
Due to recent increases in the price of fuel, the IRS has increased the optional standard mileage rates for computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, medical, and moving expense purposes for the second half of 2022. The standard mileage rate for computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for charitable purposes is set by statute and remains unchanged. For July 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022, the standard mileage rates...
One silver lining in the current bear market is that this could be a good time to convert assets from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Converted assets are subject to federal income tax in the year of conversion, which might be a substantial tax bill. However, if assets in your traditional IRA have lost value, you will pay taxes on a lower asset base when you convert. If all conditions are met, the...
With approximately 94% of American workers covered by Social Security and 65 million people currently receiving benefits, keeping Social Security healthy is a major concern.1 Social Security isn’t in danger of going broke — it’s financed primarily through payroll taxes — but its financial health is declining, and benefits may eventually be reduced unless Congress acts. Each year, the Trustees of the Social Security Trust Funds release a detailed report to Congress that assesses the financial...
Every May, interest rates on federal student loans are recalculated for the upcoming school year. The rates are calculated by combining the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note with an extra fixed amount set by Congress. Based on this calculation, interest rates on federal student loans are set to increase for the 2022-2023 school year by more than 1%, the second straight year of increases.1 The rates apply to new federal student loans issued July...
The IRS has released the 2023 contribution limits for health savings accounts (HSAs), as well as the 2023 minimum deductible and maximum out-of-pocket amounts for high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). An HSA is a tax-advantaged account that’s paired with an HDHP. An HSA offers several valuable tax benefits: You may be able to make pre-tax contributions via payroll deduction through your employer, reducing your current income tax. If you make contributions on your own using after-tax...
Homebuyers braving the hot U.S. housing market have run headlong into a striking transition. The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage jumped from around 3.2% at the beginning of 2022 to 5.3% in mid-May, the highest level since 2009. This rise was sparked by the Federal Reserve’s commitment to raise the federal funds rate — a key benchmark for short-term interest rates — to help control the highest inflation in decades.1 Although mortgage...
Conventional wisdom says that what goes up must come down. But even if you view market volatility as a normal occurrence, it can be tough to handle when your money is at stake. Though there’s no foolproof way to handle the ups and downs of the stock market, the following common-sense tips can help. Don’t put your eggs all in one basket Diversifying your investment portfolio is one of the key tools for trying to...