It’s Time to Talk About Social Security. No More Waiting.

Social Security has always seemed like a future problem, with experts long predicting a benefits squeeze in the decades ahead. But the coronavirus has put tens of millions of Americans out of work, and economists are predicting that the recovery will take years. That means the future is now. If nothing is done to shore […]

For Owners Looking to Sell, an Option That Keeps Their Company Intact

In early 2000, Michael and Lynn Terry started a business selling horse trailers that were lighter than their competitors’ and customized to each client’s needs. Nearly two decades later, their company, Cimarron Trailers, with tens of millions of dollars in sales, employed over 130 people in Chickasha, Okla., and their trailers were sold at 30 […]

Why 2020 Is Different for Student Loan Payments

Spring college graduates typically begin repaying their student loans in November. But this year, things are different. Most federal student loans come with a six-month grace period before new graduates have to start making payments on their college debt. Because of the pandemic, however, repayment of most types of federal loans has been automatically suspended […]

Making a New Start in a Business of Their Own

In April, Dave Summers lost his job as director of digital media productions at the American Management Association, a casualty of layoffs brought on by the pandemic. Mr. Summers, 60, swiftly launched his own business as a digital media producer, coach and animator who creates podcasts, webcasts and video blogs. And in September, he and […]

Make Your First Home Your Last: The Case for Not Moving Up

Home has become work and school for millions of people. Many residences needed to somehow shift overnight to accommodate two workplaces and multiple classrooms because of the coronavirus. With schools and businesses signaling that these conditions will extend at least through the spring, it’s no surprise there is a stampede of people seeking more space. […]

Some Real Estate Investors Are Putting More Money in One Basket

Peter Starrett and Sharon Arthofer are wealthy investors who come from different business backgrounds, but both are looking to put more of their money into an asset that has suffered during the pandemic: real estate. For many investors, that would mean choosing funds that buy scores of buildings around the country. Instead, Mr. Starrett, who […]

As Open Enrollment Begins, Health Benefits May Not Change Much

Open enrollment season is here again for workers fortunate enough to have health insurance through their job. Workers could pay 4 to 5 percent more for their health premiums next year, according to various estimates of cost increases. That’s in line with increases in recent years, even as the pandemic continues to bring economic challenges […]

Airline Miles Programs Sure Are Profitable. Are You the Loser?

The airlines of the United States have extra-special status. How special? Many of them may get a second pile of coronavirus relief money before citizens who can’t afford to fly get another $1,200 check. But as carriers have made their case to legislators in recent months, some have also been pitching banks — using their […]

A Challenge to Real Estate Commissions Gains Ground

Consumer advocates have long criticized traditional real estate commissions as confusing and too high. Now, those commissions are coming under increasing legal pressure. A federal judge in Illinois ruled last week that a potential class-action lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors and four major brokerage companies could proceed. The lawsuit, filed last year in […]

Private Schools Hold New Attraction for Rich Parents

Scott Anderson was living in Brooklyn with his wife and two children when the coronavirus hit, closing all of the city’s schools and sending his children into the netherworld of online education. The family moved to its weekend house in Dutchess County, N.Y. The children, one a freshman and the other a sophomore at an […]

What a $300,000 College Might Cost a $200,000 Family

College is so expensive that even the affluent can be considered needy. Oct. 1 is opening day for financial aid season, but the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — the dreaded FAFSA that families were able to start filing on Thursday — is by no means the last aid form that many of them […]

Why These Millionaires Are Staying Put Despite a New Tax on Them

New Jersey recently decided to impose a so-called millionaires tax — effectively increasing state taxes 20 percent on people earning more than $1 million. Critics had an immediate, and unsurprising, reaction, arguing that such taxes will push the wealthy to move to lower- or no-tax states. But is that true? While some wealthy people will […]

Taxes Are Due Oct. 15 if You Received an Extension

In a year when normal tax filing deadlines were postponed because of the pandemic, there is one more important date to note: Oct. 15. That’s the deadline for filing your 2019 income tax return if you got an automatic filing extension this year. The regular April filing deadline was extended to July 15 because of […]

Apps Will Get You Paid Early, for a Price

Americans have become accustomed to summoning just about anything on demand, from groceries to car rides. Now it’s just as easy to get paid when you want. As the coronavirus pandemic squeezes household budgets, workers and employers alike are increasingly turning to pay-advance apps with friendly-sounding names like Earnin, Dave, Brigit and Rain. They allow […]

As Donations Shift in the Pandemic, New Databases Aim to Help

Charitable giving both increased this year and went in new directions, as donors, big and small, responded first to the pandemic and then to social justice causes after the killing of George Floyd in May. The Foundation Source, which advises smaller corporate and family foundations, recently surveyed its members and found that 39 percent of […]

How to Predict Merit Aid in a Strange College Application Season

Untold numbers of high school seniors have had trouble finding convenient places to take standardized tests during the pandemic, while others have health issues that make doing so risky. In the spring, many of them got pass-fail grades or are grappling with other altered academic standards. And plenty of extracurricular activities may be limited or […]

Pandemic Increases Importance of Filing Early for Financial Aid

It’s especially important to apply early for financial aid this year, college experts say, because many families have suffered economically during the coronavirus pandemic and may have to take extra steps to qualify for maximum help. That means families should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — the form known as FAFSA — […]

Tax Strategies to Embrace, or Avoid, Before the November Election

In unpredictable times, the desire to create a better tax strategy becomes more urgent, but that could result in some regrettable changes to perfectly good plans. For example, many advisers counseled their wealthy clients in 2012 that the estate and gift taxes exemptions were going down and that the rates on those taxes were going […]

$2.50 a Year in Interest? That’s What $5,000 in Savings Gets

Historically low interest rates are a boon for home buyers. But for savers? Not so much. Low rates for borrowers typically also mean lower rates for savers. Because banks are earning less on loans, they typically pay out less on savings to make money. The average rate paid by banks on basic, federally insured savings […]

How Covid Has Altered the Conversation About Money

Before the coronavirus, Tara Beier and her husband, Dennis, rarely discussed money. They kept separate bank accounts and divided their household responsibilities. Her husband, 42, covered the mortgage on the two properties they own, while Ms. Beier, 38, managed and took care of a rental home. It worked fine for their 12 years of marriage. […]

Help! My Very Direct Flight Added a Stop and So Many More Passengers

Dear Tripped Up, I recently bought Allegiant Air tickets from Cleveland to Orlando, Fla., and was told while booking that if the flight was more than 65 percent full, I could request not to board in exchange for a voucher. In Cleveland, as boarding started, we were advised by the gate agent that this would […]

Teen Stock Trading Seems Dangerous. It Doesn’t Have to Be.

This year, Robinhood and its millions of younger-than-average customers have found themselves at the center of attention that is both comic and tragic. “Robinhood: ‘We now allow teenagers with their parents’ credit cards to trade stocks’” went the April headline on the satire site Stonk Market. Two months later, the headlines were far more sobering, […]

Four Questions to Help Demystify Your Relationship With Money

Jennifer Risher took a job in campus recruiting at Microsoft in 1991. She was 25 and given stock options worth several hundred thousand dollars. While working there, she met her husband, David, who had more stock options than she did. He later left to work for Amazon when it was still just selling books and […]

Who Gets Hurt When the World Stops Using Cash

Cash doesn’t have the status it used to. In fact, some state and local governments are forcing businesses like restaurants and retail shops to continue accepting cash — concerned that cashless businesses effectively discriminate against consumers who do not have bank accounts or credit cards. New York City will require most stores and restaurants to […]

Weighing Pandemic Risks When Donating to Colleges

Many colleges and universities are struggling to reopen safely and offer in-person classes during the pandemic. At risk is not just the health and safety of their students, faculty and staff, but in many cases the financial viability of the institutions themselves if they have to go to remote learning, which could prompt students and […]

Tips on Spending the Money in College Savings Accounts

You’ve put aside money for college in a 529 account for years. Now it’s time to start withdrawing funds to pay the higher-education bills. What’s the best way to do that? First, a little background. A 529 account — named for a section of the federal tax code — lets people save and invest for […]

Trump Executive Order: The New Eviction Moratorium

The Trump administration has announced an order to suspend the possibility of eviction for millions of renters who have suffered financially because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the order was an emergency action, which it is entitled to take under the law. Here are the answers to […]

Investing in Social Good Is Finally Becoming Profitable

Impact investments, which aim to promote a social good or prevent a social ill, have significantly outperformed traditional bets during the coronavirus pandemic. And their returns are enticing hesitant investors to rework their portfolios. Impact investing typically focuses on three categories: environmental, social and governance, known as E.S.G. Returns can be tracked through various exchange-traded […]

Pictures of Themselves: The 2020 College Essays on Money

Consider these dispatches from the time before. Before the coronavirus, before college students went home and stayed there, before protests amplified calls for racial justice, a whole bunch of teenagers did a normal thing at a normal time: They tried to say something meaningful about who they were to a collection of strangers who could […]

In Pandemic, More Are Paying for Direct Access to Their Doctors

When the National Basketball Association announced that it would restart its season in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World in July, Kimberly Caspare, a physical therapist, was on board from the start. She has been working inside the bubble for nearly two months, focused on the Philadelphia 76ers, who made the playoffs and extended her […]

Helping Girls Step Up to Entrepreneurship

As the school year ended and summer began, Page Curtin, a mother of three, was looking at a summer of canceled plans for her children. Her daughter M.G., 12, would not be going to sleep-away camp as planned. Then she heard through her husband’s employer about a program that aimed to teach girls financial, entrepreneurial […]

New Fee on Some College Bills: It’s for the Virus

College students are used to seeing fees on their semester bills: activity fees, lab fees, athletic fees, technology fees, orientation fees and so on. This year, some students are noticing a new item: coronavirus fees. Faced with extra expenses for screening and testing students for the virus, and for reconfiguring campus facilities for safety, some […]

America’s Retirement Race Gap, and Ideas for Closing It

The protest movement across the United States this summer has prompted a national conversation about ways to correct the acute economic inequities facing Black and other Americans of color. Those inequities don’t end when people retire. Racial gaps in retirement security were large before the coronavirus struck, and the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic […]

$400 Unemployment Stimulus Is Really $300, and Won’t Arrive Soon

The federal aid to unemployed workers that President Trump announced last weekend looks likely to be smaller than initially suggested — and it remains unclear when the money will start flowing, how long it will last or how many workers will benefit. The uncertainty comes at a delicate time for the economy. New applications for […]

Help! I’m Abroad and My Visa Is About to Run Out

Dear Tripped Up, I am an American citizen who arrived in Mexico in January on a Forma Migratoria Múltiple, the country’s standard 180-day visitor’s permit. My daughter lives there as a temporary resident, so I’d like to stay — and, besides, I really don’t want to fly back to the States during a global pandemic. […]

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 […]