THE BIGGER THEY ARE
Bigger doesn’t always mean better, especially when it comes to choosing where to park your money. Big banks might dazzle customers with cutting-edge apps and ATM locations across the country, but these benefits come at a high (and sometimes hidden) price. Small banks and credit unions often represent a better option for many consumers, but finding out if they’re right for you first requires understanding the reasons people should beware of big banks.
The day off known by most as “Presidents’ Day” is a federal holiday actually called “Washington’s Birthday.” Even though founding father George Washington is thought to have been born on Feb. 22, 1732, the U.S. has been celebrating it on the third Monday of every February since 1968.
Maximize your three-day weekend by snagging some exclusive President’s day deals now through February 19, 2018 and beyond.
When considering what to buy in February, remember that winter is half over and retailers want to clear out seasonal merchandise. Presidents Day also falls in February, giving many people a three-day weekend and extra time to shop. And don’t forget the Super Bowl. Taken together, these trends promise deals galore.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that has exploded onto the investment world in dramatic fashion, fluctuating greatly in price and making millionaires out of early investors. Although bitcoin has proven to be a wild ride for speculative investors, its main purpose is ostensibly to be a currency — an alternative way to buy and sell products and services. If you’ve ever wondered what to buy with bitcoin, you might be surprised at what’s available.
To buy things with bitcoin, look for retailers that have a bitcoin logo just as you would look for a Visa or MasterCard sign if you wanted to use one of their credit cards. Take a look at this list of 20 ways you can buy stuff with bitcoin — and the interesting things you can own.
When it comes to the economy, the question isn’t if there will be another recession — it’s when.
A recession is like a rainstorm: You can take steps to limit its impact once the rain starts pouring down, but the best way to withstand a storm is to fix your roof before the storm starts.
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR 401(K)?
For thousands of Americans, a 401(k) plan is the only real connection they have to the stock market. Some people have hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of hard-earned dollars invested in a 401(k) and still understand very little about how the plan works. Financial advisors often recommend investing as much money as possible in 401(k) plans because of the many investment advantages they provide. However, investors need to understand what their 401(k) actually is and how it works to unlock its full power. Here are seven things you need to know about your 401(k).
NEW YEAR, NEW TAX RESPONSIBILITIES
2018 just started, so it may seem too early to beginthinking about your taxes. To the contrary, I would encourage you to look attax planning as a year-long process — not just something you do for the lastfew weeks of the year and again in the middle of April.
With that in mind, here are 12 smart tax moves that you canmake right now, including several that you can use throughout the year tominimize your tax bill and make filing your tax return as easy as possible.
Tax season can sneak up on you just as quickly as the holiday season, but there aren’t any gifts at the end. Since many of us are already receiving our W-2s and preparing to file our taxes sometime between now and April 17th, it’s important to stay organized and avoid scrambling to find important documents the night before the deadline. Here are 10 of the best ways to get yourself organized early for tax season.
Millennials tend to get a bad reputation from older generations as entitled, self-centered, and periodically lazy. Not all millennials fit those categorizations, however. In fact, 3.2% of the ultra-wealthy global population falls within the millennial age range – not bad considering their relatively young age and the time it takes to accumulate such great wealth. These 30 millennials did not inherit a business from his or her family – they are all self-made entrepreneurs.
Mark Zuckerberg is the quintessential example of a now wealthy millennial who hit the ground running from an early age and ended up scoring big. Creating Facebook in the comfort of his dorm room at the age of 19, Zuckerberg is now worth some $74 billion — he is not only the richest millennial, but also the fifth richest person in the world. Several other booming businesses such as Airbnb, Instagram, and Snap Inc. were created by millennials who are now world-renowned billionaires.
To identify the richest millennial entrepreneurs in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a slew of credible sources, most notably Forbes, Bloomberg, and Wealth-X, to find people with the greatest to-date net worth. We used Pew Research Center’s definition of a millennial — those born between 1981 and 1997. Those above the age of 36 years old were not considered.
401(k) investors should break out their rally caps and root for stocks to keep going up in January.
The reason: How equities fare in the first month of the year often signals how they will perform for the full year.
And, so far in 2018, stocks are in rally mode.
They have closed higher the first four trading days, raising the hopes of 401(k) investors for more gains ahead, following a 25% return for the Dow Jones industrial average in 2017.
The gains have been powered by optimism that the economy and corporate earnings will benefit this year from tax cuts engineered by Republicans. Those positives are offsetting challenges, like a pricey market, an expected rise in interest rates and signs that investors are getting too optimistic about the market’s prospects.
Getting off to a good start on Wall Street is often the difference between full-year success and failure, according to The Stock Trader’s Almanac.
In fact, 401(k) investors’ odds of making money in stocks again in 2018 will rise dramatically if the market can notch what the Almanac calls a performance “trifecta” this month.
We’re not talking about a horse-racing trifecta, where bettors win when they correctly pick the order of the first three finishers in a race. A Wall Street trifecta is when the stock market does three things: It posts gains in the seven-day “Santa Claus Rally” that straddles December and January; it rises in the first five trading days of a new year; and it ends January with gains.
Of the 29 times since 1950 in which the S&P 500 stock index rose in all three of those periods, it finished the year higher 27 times, or 93% of the time, according to The Stock Trader’s Almanac. Following those trifectas, the large-company stock index posted average full-year gains of 18%.
More: Dow closes above 25,000, extending milestone-breaking run for blue-chip stock index
More: 18 stocks that could rise 25% in 2018
More: 401(k) savers: Where the stock market is headed in 2018
Those statistics back up the saying coined by the Almanac, “As January goes, so goes the year.”
So far this year, odds favor another good year for stock investors. The S&P 500 was up 1.1% during the Santa rally, which ran from Dec. 22 to Jan. 3. And it has risen the first four days of January, gaining 2.6%. If stocks stay in the black through January 31, it would be a bullish signal.
“A positive first five days and January would certainly boost prospects for full-year 2018,” noted Jeffrey Hirsch, the Almanac’s editor.
The first five days of the year is dubbed an “early warning system,” while the full-month market watch is known as the “January Barometer.”
There are a few reasons why a strong January often leads to further gains, says Sung Won Sohn, professor of economics at California State University Channel Islands.
Stock price trends and investor psychology are big factors.
“Once the bullish sentiment builds, it does not dissipate right away,” Sohn tells USA TODAY.
Still, Sohn warns that too much of a good thing might eventually be a negative.
“The market always overreacts in both directions, creating booms and busts,” Sohn says, adding that investor enthusiasm is getting overdone. “We are in the ninth inning of the (rally). I would be cautious and raising cash.”
There are two key reasons why stocks tend to rise early in a new year, says David Kotok, chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors, a Sarasota, Florida-based investment firm.
Investors that were selling stocks late in the prior year for tax purposes finish that process, he explains. In addition, fresh cash becomes available for investment as the calendar turns.
Kotok expects the early-year stock strength “to continue for awhile.”
He sees stocks being bolstered for the rest of 2018 by tax cuts.
“Short-term, I’m bullish,” he says.