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FAFSA in the Fall for Lower Stress

November 2017

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) used to be a family “stressfest” right after the winter holidays. Parents and students scrambled to estimate their prior-year tax information after the FAFSA became available on January 1, and then had to update the information when they finalized their returns. The situation improved in… Read more

Medicare Open Enrollment

November 2017

Each year between October 15 and December 7, Medicare offers an open enrollment period during which beneficiaries can make changes among several coverage options: Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance, referred to as Original Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage, which replaces Original Medicare and often includes prescription drug coverage and other… Read more

PPO or HDHP? Making Health Insurance Choices

November 2017

More than half of large U.S. companies offer employees a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).1 When an HDHP is offered, employees often have a choice between the HDHP and a traditional preferred provider organization (PPO) plan. People who buy coverage outside the workplace may face a similar choice. Premiums are generally lower for an HDHP than… Read more

HOT TOPIC: Spanish Showdown, Slow Brexit

November 2017

With separatists in Catalonia pushing for independence, Spain’s democratic government is facing a constitutional crisis. Meanwhile, little progress has been made in negotiations on the terms of the United Kingdom’s pending exit from the European Union. Geopolitical tensions can affect economies and move financial markets. Here’s a closer look at these two political standoffs taking… Read more

Insuring a Home-Based Business

October 2017

Slightly more than half of U.S. businesses are home based, and people who run businesses from their own homes often assume that their homeowners insurance provides sufficient coverage.1 This misconception may expose them to a considerable amount of risk. With standard homeowners insurance, the coverage for business equipment such as computers is often limited to… Read more

Bracing for Higher Rates

October 2017

With inflation ticking higher and the employment situation improving, the Federal Reserve anticipates gradually lifting the benchmark federal funds rate in 2017 and 2018.1  Officials are also discussing plans to shrink the Fed’s huge bond portfolio ($4.5 trillion). Phasing out the bond-buying program could reduce overall demand for government bonds and cause some financial market… Read more

The State of State Pensions

October 2017

It’s no secret that state pension funds face fiscal challenges. A 2017 Pew Research study found that the median funded ratio — the proportion of assets to liabilities — dropped from 75% in fiscal year 2014 to 72% in fiscal year 2015, with a total shortfall of almost $1.1 trillion. The shortfall was expected to… Read more

New Life for Your Old Insurance Policy

October 2017

Life insurance can serve many valuable purposes. However, later in life — when your children have grown, you’ve retired, or you’ve paid off your mortgage — you may no longer think you need to keep your coverage, or perhaps your coverage has become too expensive. You might be tempted to abandon the policy or surrender… Read more

Birthday Opportunities

October 2017

The most common month to be born in the United States is September. September 9 is the most common day, and December 25 is the least common day.1 Of course, every birthday is special, no matter when it falls on the calendar. And some birthdays bring new benefits or responsibilities. See whether you can match… Read more

HOT TOPIC: After the Storms: The Economic Impact of Harvey and Irma

October 2017

As Texas and Florida recover from the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, economists and industry experts have begun to assess the economic impact of the storms on a local and national level. It may take years for the effects to become clear, and the loss of life and human suffering are beyond calculation. But… Read more

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