Personal finance articles aimed to educate and sometimes entertain written by highly experienced Certified Financial Planner with deep expertise in integrating retirement, investment, and tax planning into a well-integrated retirement strategy. (This site is for educational purposes only. See disclaimer.)
If you're like me, you find the 1000 page plus Heathcare Reform Act a bit confusing. This nine minute animated movie -- featuring the "YouToons" -- explains the problems with the current health care system, the changes that are happening now, and the big changes coming in 2014, produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
I'd like to remind everyone to not be too anxious to file your taxes. Many taxpayers rush to file their tax returns as quickly as possible. Ordinarily, that’s fine. But if you own mutual funds, don’t file your tax return before March 1.
In past years, revised 1099s were often issued, reclassifying distributions and/or their amounts. This was a huge headache for the investors who had already filed tax returns based on the original documentation. These hapless consumers found themselves forced to redo their returns and file amended tax returns, adjusting the amount they owed or were due in refunds - and paying their tax preparer additional fees to do the extra work.
It looks like 2010 may be the same. Therefore, if you own mutual funds, do not file your tax return before March 1. By then, any amended IRS forms are likely to arrive, potentially helping you avoid the hassle and costs of filing an amended return.
Small cap stocks outperformed large cap stocks by a significant margin in most global markets last year but capturing the size premium required both patience and a willingness to ignore the advice from those claiming to identify the best-performing asset classes in advance. US small stocks got off to a strong start last year as the Russell 2000 Index jumped to a gain of 18.6% through April 23, more than double the return of the S&P 500®. But as stock prices wilted during the summer, small caps fell even faster and by August 24th both large cap and small cap indices were down roughly 5% for the year. A surprisingly strong rally during the remainder of the year drove the Russell 2000 up 31.5%, and for the year as a whole it was the best performance for US small stocks since 2003.
The strength in small cap stocks caught a number of financial pundits flat-footed. An article appearing in the Wall Street Journal in mid-November 2009 claimed “small caps aren’t looking that cheap anymore…