I heard an excellent quote from radio host Dave Ramsey that said, “In an effort to be ‘nice’ I used to be unclear. It is unkind to be unclear: Be a gentle truth teller.” While I don’t always succeed at the “gentle” part, I am relatively straightforward most of the time with my opinions.
“Skyfall” is first and foremost a movie about middle-aged job angst – whether your skills are sufficiently up to speed to stay competitive in the global marketplace, and whether age discrimination will keep you from doing the work you’re best at . . . In the new movie, Agent 007’s worries include tech-savvy 20-somethings and questions over whether he’s still “field-ready.” Sound familiar?
Challenges await on Social Security, Medicare and elder-care, and retiree savings
The looming “fiscal cliff” has generated no shortage of headaches for affluent families that hope to pass assets along to their descendants. Under current law, the lifetime exemption on the estate and gift tax for individuals will drop at the end of the year from $5.12 million to $1 million, a fact that has many people scrambling to rearrange their estate plans before the New Year’s Eve ball drops.
- Alison Seiffer for WSJ
But as MarketWatch’s AnnaMaria Andriotis points out today, there’s one potentially attractive estate-planning tool that many investors are neglecting: The 529 college-savings plan. Most such plans have a total contribution limit of $250,000 to $350,000 per beneficiary (just about enough to pay for four years at an Ivy League bastion, last time we looked). And unlike with some other estate-planning vehicles, the giver retains a fair amount of control over the money. “Account owners can withdraw any portion of the balance in their 529 plans if they ever need it,” Andriotis writes (though they may owe taxes on any investment gains). And the giver can even change beneficiaries if the original heir winds up not needing some or all of the funds.
The 2% tax cut could make it harder to keep Social Security solvent.
It’s the investor equivalent of announcing: “If that guy wins, I’m moving to Canada.” According to a recent survey by insurer Allianz Life, about 40% of voters aged 55 to 65 say that they plan to change their portfolios depending on who wins the election.
And as Encore contributor Catey Hill reports today, for most that change would mean reacting defensively in response to a win by the man they dislike. “Voters who identified themselves as Republicans or Democrats generally said they were likely to invest more conservatively if the opposing party won the White House,” she writes, adding that “many Republicans also said they would invest more aggressively if Mr. Romney won.”
It’s every patient’s worst nightmare: You undergo a complicated, expensive medical procedure, only to have your insurer deny your claim and refuse to pay, leaving you stuck with the bill. (Every patient’s second worst nightmare, by the way, is the one in which NBC decides not to cancel “Animal Practice.”)
Commentators weigh in on a claim by Mitt Romney