The ‘Indirect’ Costs at College Can Involve Nasty Surprises

Students and their families often focus on tuition and fees when budgeting for college. But there are costs that typically don’t appear on college bills, and they can add up — costs like books, laptop computers, transportation, and off-campus housing and meals. These so-called indirect costs — expenses not paid directly to the institution, including […]

More Wealthy Families Are Throwing a Lifeline to Distressed Businesses

During the pandemic, wealthy families have continued to use their investment pools, known as family offices, to gain access to the type of high-return opportunities once reserved for institutional investors. But they are taking a more hands-on role in those financial decisions. These family offices have chosen to bypass private equity and venture capital funds […]

Interest Rates Are Low, but Loans Are Harder to Get. Here’s Why.

As public school teachers, Tori Smith and her husband have careers that should survive the coronavirus economy, but their mortgage lender wasn’t taking any chances. It told them that they would have to put down more money to keep the interest rate they wanted, then dialed back what it was willing to lend them. And […]

Can’t Afford a Birkin Bag or a Racehorse? You Can Invest in One

Antonella Carbonaro, a consultant to financial technology companies, saved up to buy her Birkin bag, a luxury tote made by Hermès that sells new for tens of thousands of dollars. Since getting her bag in 2018, Ms. Carbonaro has stored it in her closet, bringing it out only on special occasions. But when she heard […]

Afraid of Airlines? There’s Always the Private Jet

Lexi Shangraw, a San Francisco resident, flew to Phoenix in early March for what was supposed to be a brief visit. But when lockdowns started, she ended up staying longer than anticipated in hopes of waiting out Covid-19. Last month, she decided it was finally time to return home. Dubious about the safety of big […]

Coin Shortage? It May Be Time to Use Your State Quarters

Growing up in San Diego in the early 2000s, Kelsey Fehlberg proudly displayed her state quarters in a map with inserts for each coin. Then, she said, sometime in middle school, “I started to be too cool for it.” Her collection collected dust in her parents’ closet for 15 years, until she was home for […]

Where to Safely Store Your Gold

We’re in the midst of a modern-day gold rush. The precious metal has reached record high prices in recent days. A survey of 1,000 people by Magnify Money found that one out of six have invested in gold or other precious metals since May, and about half of Americans are seriously thinking about buying gold. […]

The Retirement Savings Coach You Already Know

When the pandemic was declared in March and the U.S. stock market plunged, Dr. Bryan T. Whitlow was surprisingly sanguine about his retirement investments. Unlike many Americans, he didn’t radically cut his spending, didn’t check his balances constantly and didn’t yank money from the market. “I have not even looked at my I.R.A. since this […]

Need Help With Your Estate Plan? Go With the Flow, Advisers Say

Andrew D. Hendry rose through the corporate ranks to become the vice chairman and general counsel for Colgate-Palmolive, the global consumer products company. As a lawyer, he understood complicated legal documents and how they guided the inner workings of a large corporation. But when it came to his estate plan, Mr. Hendry, like many others, […]

16 States Go Ahead With ‘Back to School’ Sales Tax Holidays

Even though the coronavirus may make “back to school” a misnomer, many states are going ahead with summer sales tax “holidays” that give shoppers a break on back-to-school items. This year, 16 states are temporarily exempting clothing, shoes, notebooks and other school supplies, sometimes including computers, from state, and often local, sales taxes. Shoppers can […]

Are You Eligible for Food Stamps Now? Maybe, but It’s Complex

The safety net is starting to unravel. At the end of the month, struggling Americans could lose the extra $600 per week they’ve been receiving in unemployment insurance. Some eviction protections are already expiring. And as people scramble to afford basic needs, hunger looms. Tens of millions of Americans are in danger. According to Census […]

New Tools for Home Buyers as the Pandemic Upends Real Estate

Dan Feder, a graphic designer, and his husband, Don Bacigalupi, a museum director, have lived in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles for two years. But they started looking to move closer to their teenage son’s school when pandemic lockdowns showed they could avoid a commute across town by working from home. Yet having […]

At a Time of Financial Stress, 401(k) Fees Matter More Than Ever

John C. Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, had a mantra throughout his long career in the mutual fund industry: “Costs matter.” The amount of fees you pay to a third party to manage your money eats into your retirement savings. That has never been more important, although it is probably not foremost on your […]

10 Steps to Take to Try to Prevent Your Own Eviction

If you have a mortgage and can’t afford to pay it because of fallout from the coronavirus, you may be able to push off your payments for several months, or even into next year. But if you’re struggling to pay your rent, your options are probably much more limited. Local, state and federal governments have […]

Auctions Are Crimped as the Pandemic Forces Them Online

Just about every area of personal finance has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That economic shock reaches all the way to some of the most aspirational purchases on the planet: art, cars, watches and wine. The mechanism to buy and sell many of these objects — frothy, in-person auctions, with attendees dressed smartly and […]

Filing Your Taxes Deadline: Questions and Answers for July 15th

This is something I’ve never said before: Now that Independence Day is behind us, tax day is fast approaching. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Treasury Department postponed the traditional April 15 federal tax filing deadline until July 15. And this time, there’s no wiggle room. Last month, the Internal Revenue Service announced that there […]

Help! I’m Owed a Refund, But the Hotel Owner Refuses to Budge

Dear Tripped Up, My wife and I were supposed to attend a wedding in Sonoma this spring, but the affair was obviously canceled. I canceled our Best Western reservation well before the 24 hours required by the company’s new coronavirus cancellation policy, but was told that the only option is to postpone our stay for […]

Why College Students May Qualify for Special Covid Pandemic Aid

High school and college students whose summer jobs fell through because of the pandemic may qualify for jobless benefits under a special federal program. But getting the funds is harder in some states than in others. Traditional unemployment insurance — a joint federal-state program funded by taxes on employers — usually leaves out students. But […]

How Investors Are Addressing Racial Injustice

Socially responsible investing has been putting billions of dollars to work for social change for decades. In some cases, the strategy means avoiding certain sectors. Religious organizations, for instance, steer clear of alcohol, firearms, tobacco and other “sin” stocks. Some investors focus on companies that are already socially responsible to help them thrive, while starving […]

Fraudulent Jobless Claims Slow Relief to the Truly Desperate

When Alexandria Preston had to leave her job as a medical assistant to care for her two children during the pandemic, she didn’t encounter endless delays like so many others trying to get unemployment benefits. But three weeks later, the payments stopped coming. Then her account was canceled entirely — forcing her to dip into […]

Philanthropy Rises in Pandemic as Donors Heed the Call for Help

When the coronavirus prompted states to order residents to stay at home in March, unemployment surged around the country as huge parts of the economy slowed or stopped. Soon after, there were calls for philanthropists, charitably inclined people and even occasional donors to accelerate any giving they were planning to do. They stepped up, it […]

Virus ‘Dramatically’ Narrows Teenagers’ Summer Job Prospects

Teenagers face a tough summer job market because of the pandemic and the related economic slowdown. Whether they’re lifeguard shifts at a (now-dry) pool or counselor spots at a (shuttered) summer camp, jobs often held by young people are scarce. As many job-seeking youths are finding, the pandemic has “dramatically” altered the summer jobs outlook, […]

Labor Dept. Moves to Curb Social Goals in Retirement Investing

The Labor Department has proposed a rule that could discourage retirement funds from making investments based on environmental, social and governance considerations. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, in an opinion article Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, said the move “reminds plan providers that it is unlawful to sacrifice returns, or accept additional risk, through investments […]

Used Cars From Shrinking Rental Fleets May Not Be the Steal You Expect

The coronavirus and the related drop-off in travel have pummeled the rental car industry. That means car shoppers may find deals on used vehicles this summer as the rental companies trim their fleets — but not necessarily bargain-basement discounts. Auto rentals fell abruptly when the pandemic brought business and leisure travel to a near halt […]

Pandemic Is Expected to Bring More Lawsuits, and More Backers

If there is one thing that is almost always guaranteed in an economic downturn, it’s an increase in litigation. Businesses are going to sue businesses. Tenants are going to sue landlords, who will sue their tenants right back. Insurance companies will contest claims, and start-ups will try to defend their intellectual property from more established […]

In Fine Print, Airlines Make It Harder to Fight for Passenger Rights

As air travel reopens and flight bookings begin to creep up, AvGeeks — aviation geeks — and others may notice some new legalese in the fine print when they buy plane tickets. More and more carriers are adding clauses that require passengers to settle disputes with the airline in private arbitration, rather than in court, […]

Wealth Advisers Torn Over Taking Small-Business Aid

The federal government’s multibillion-dollar aid program to help small businesses hurt by the pandemic prompted outrage after billions went to public companies while mom-and-pop businesses were sidelined. Now, another group of recipients is being scrutinized for taking the money: independent wealth management firms, some of which manage billions of dollars on behalf of affluent Americans. […]

Should Funeral Homes Be Required to Post Prices Online?

The coronavirus pandemic may help push the funeral business into the internet age. Funeral homes must give a detailed price list to anyone who requests one in person, but they aren’t required to post prices on their websites. Consumer advocates and members of the public are urging the Federal Trade Commission, which is reviewing its […]

Column: What would private equity funds in 401(k)s mean for retirement savers?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Employer retirement plans are not known for their flashy investments – a majority of 401(k) investors these days use target date funds that invest in broad, diversified equity and fixed income mutual funds that automatically rebalance to minimize risk as retirement approaches. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Dollar banknotes are seen in this photo […]

U.S. money market assets decreased in latest week: iMoneyNet

NEW YORK, June 10 (Reuters) – U.S. money market fund assets decreased by $24.84 billion to $4.668 trillion in the week ended June 9, the Money Fund Report said on Wednesday. Taxable money market fund assets decreased by $24.31 billion to $4.534 trillion, while tax-free assets decreased by $530.30 million to $133.95 billion, according to […]

The Stark Racial Inequity of Personal Finances in America

We cannot quantify the injustice of a white policeman holding his knee on the neck of a handcuffed, dying black man. And mere numbers cannot fully express the power imbalance involved in the deaths of George Floyd and too many others like him. But we can measure the economic inequity that serves as their backdrop. […]

How a Tax Benefit for Developers Could Backfire in the Pandemic

Something remarkable is percolating in the commercial real estate market: Investors may end up losing millions in tax savings on gains from the sale of their properties because of the coronavirus pandemic. Like-kind real estate exchanges, also known as 1031 exchanges (after the provision in the Internal Revenue Code), allow investors to sell a commercial […]

Home Prices Are Rising, Along With Post-Lockdown Demand

Mortgage rates may be appealingly low, but people shopping for a new home this spring face a challenging market. Demand, which was pent up during coronavirus stay-at-home orders, and a dearth of homes for sale are keeping prices high and setting off bidding wars in some areas as states continue to reopen for business. Some […]

Share Your 2020 College Application Essays

ImageKelley Schlise in the vehicle that contains supplies for her family’s plumbing business. We published her essay last year.Credit…Lauren Justice for The New York Times Some number of months ago, before things changed entirely, you may have written an essay as part of an application for undergraduate admission. And perhaps it was about work or […]

Wealthy Fliers Worried About Coronavirus Turn to Private Jet Service

Commercial air travel has plummeted in the pandemic, but interest in private jet service is surging, particularly among people who have not paid to fly privately before. For years, jet service providers have ferried corporate executives and wealthy leisure travelers who paid high fees for the privacy and security. Now, those same companies are shifting […]

How to Get Your Money to Those Who Need It More Than You

As unemployment claims pass 40 million and the anxious people who file them grow more desperate, an altruistic instinct has emerged among those who are more financially secure. But the sheer breadth of the pain is almost overwhelming, and the appeals are everywhere. And the impulse is to help — now — when confronted with […]

529 College Plans Are Hit by Stock Market Turmoil

Families are already wondering what college campuses will look like, post pandemic. They may also be reconsidering the price of a college education, after seeing the toll the virus-induced stock market turmoil took on their 529 college savings plans. The impact of recent market gyrations on the accounts depended on the age of the student […]

Column: What COVID-19 is teaching us about how to reform Medicare

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic has put a bright spotlight on weaknesses in many of the systems designed to protect Americans from risks. But with older people more susceptible to serious illness and death from the virus, the problems in our Medicare system that were evident pre-pandemic have come into especially sharp relief. FILE […]

Ackman says hedge fund up 27% year to date, dumped Berkshire

FILE PHOTO: William ‘Bill’ Ackman, CEO and Portfolio Manager of Pershing Square Capital Management, speaks during the Sohn Investment Conference in New York City, U.S., May 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo BOSTON (Reuters) – William Ackman’s hedge fund is boasting double-digit gains at a time many portfolios have sunk along with the economy during the […]

Ackman says portfolio is up as much as 27%, sold Berkshire recently

FILE PHOTO: William ‘Bill’ Ackman, CEO and Portfolio Manager of Pershing Square Capital Management, speaks during the Sohn Investment Conference in New York City, U.S., May 8, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo BOSTON (Reuters) – Billionaire investor William Ackman told investors on Wednesday that his funds have gained as much as 27% this year and that […]

Starboard set to win eight board seats at GCP Applied Technologies-sources

(Reuters) – Hedge fund Starboard Value LP is close to having eight directors elected to the board of GCP Applied Technologies Inc (GCP.N) at the chemical company’s annual meeting, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. While not all votes have been cast before Thursday’s annual meeting and the result could change, preliminary figures […]

Long-Term Summer Rentals is the Latest Trend

Within 24 hours of President Trump’s European travel ban in March, Laura Jones had three inquiries to rent her house in the Catskills for a month. “We had never been able to rent it for more than four days before, and most were for just a weekend,” Ms. Jones said. The house has already had […]

The Pandemic Has Increased Money Anxiety. Therapists Hope to Cure That.

Dale Mackey closed her event space in Knoxville, Tenn., a week before the state issued its orders to end large gatherings. She did not think about the economic ramifications of shuttering her business, the Central Collective; she said it was the right thing to do to reduce the spread of the virus. Work dried up […]

Interest Rate on Federal College Loans Is About to Hit a Record Low

The coronavirus may be upending the way colleges operate, but at least students and their families will get a break if they borrow money from the government for an education. The interest rate on new federal student loans for undergraduates will fall to a record low this summer. Those students will pay a rate of […]

Northern Trust shutting fund; an outlier or sign of future risk?

FILE PHOTO: An employee walks past a company logo at Northern Trust offices in London, Britain August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville BOSTON (Reuters) – Northern Trust Corp’s decision to liquidate a $1.8-billion prime money market fund was seen as an outlier event by industry analysts on Wednesday, but one that could portend more problems depending […]

U.S. bank regulator finalizes new community lending rule

FILE PHOTO: The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in the financial district of lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., April 26, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. banking regulator announced on Wednesday it had finalized work on a long-running effort to change […]

Northern Trust shutting fund in latest prime money market stress

BOSTON (Reuters) – Northern Trust Corp (NTRS.O) said it will liquidate a $1.8 billion prime money market fund, one of a number to come under stress this year as investors withdraw cash. In filings on Monday Northern Trust of Chicago said its fund board determined to liquidate and terminate its Prime Obligations Portfolio (NPAXX.O) around […]