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How to Avoid Family Financial Sabotage
Did you ever lend or give money to a family member? If so, you're like many who have responded financially to at least one request. Giving to others can be rewarding, but becoming the family bank or money tree can be stressful, particularly when the amount or frequency of the requests is high. Stress comes from deciding if you can afford the outlay and wondering if the money will be used responsibly. The request can also be packaged in what psychotherapist Dr. Susan Forward called FOG — fear, obligation and guilt. FOG can keep you from saying no when no would be the best response.

Study: You Literally Can't Even Pay People to Read Opinions They Disagree With
People are so conditioned to avoid contrary viewpoints that they will actually forego an opportunity to win more money if it requires them to read something with which they disagree. That's according to a fascinating—and deeply depressing—study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Get Ready for Dramatically Lower Stock Market Returns Over the Next Decade
Vanguard Group says expect a typical 60 percent stocks/40 percent bonds portfolio to deliver two- to- three percentage points less in nominal annual returns than its long-term norm.

Your Client's Financial Well-Being is More Than Their Finances
A person’s financial well-being is about more than just finances, according to a new research paper from Morningstar behavioral economist Sarah Newcomb. The paper – When More Is Less: Rethinking Financial Health – draws on results of a 2016 survey of U.S. adults to create a model of financial health using demographic, psychographic, emotional and behavioral variables.

Gradually Converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth Can Boost Nest Egg
The first wave of baby boomers who turned 70 ½ this year must start tapping their traditional retirement accounts soon and pay taxes on those required minimum distributions. For those first boomers who turn 70 ½ this year, who were born from January through June 1946, their first distribution is due by the end of 2016. But a special first-year rule allows them to postpone their initial distribution until April 1 of the following year. However, if they opt to delay they would have to take their second distribution by Dec. 31, 2017, resulting in a double payout next year and an even higher tax bill.

Public Pensions are being Overly Optimistic 
The proximate cause of this column is an article in the New York Times, detailing the travails of a tiny government office that decided to withdraw from Calpers, the California state pension system, in order to switch to a 401(k) system. Officials at the office thought this would be a simple matter, since their members were fully paid in. Only it turned out it cost them more than $500,000 to make the switch, because when they went to leave, Calpers said “We meant fully funded if you stay, not fully funded if you leave.”

Student Debt: Lives on Hold
Almost every American knows an adult burdened by a student loan. Fewer know that growing alongside 42 million indebted students is a formidable private industry that has been enriched by those very loans. Step by step, one law after another has been enacted by Congress to make student debt the worst kind of debt for Americans—and the best kind for banks and debt collectors.

Boomers, It's Time to Spend - and Pay Taxes on - Your 401(k)
At age 70½, the bill comes due on all those tax-deferred savings accounts we’ve been building, and this week the oldest baby boomers will begin to reach that finish line—with many millions more to follow. Those waves of retirees will be required to start pulling money from their IRAs and 401(k)s. Following an Internal Revenue Service formula, these annual withdrawals can push you into a higher tax bracket, so financial planners put a lot of energy into building strategies to minimize the tax bite.

1 in 4 Americans have PTSD-Like Symptoms from Financial Stress
If you’ve ever felt like financial stress was bringing you down—in a big way—you might be interested in the findings of a new study from Payoff, a financial wellness company. In an analysis of data from 2,011 survey respondents, researchers at Payoff discovered that 23% of respondents were experiencing symptoms commonly associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to their finances. Among Millennials, the number is 36%.

Would you let a Mystic Manage your Investment Portfolio?
It’s that time of year again when the mystics peer deep into their tea leaves, entrails and crystal balls to divine what’s ahead. Which means it’s also time for my annual reminder: These folks cannot tell the future. Ignore them.

Ron Lieber NHPR Interview
Of all the difficult conversations between parents and children, talking about money may be the one parents are the least prepared for.

My Biggest Financial Lesson
Most of us have one, or sometimes more than one: a turning point or a moment when our feelings about money crystallize. When that happens, we know it and resolve to think about our finances in a different way while saving, spending or giving away money much more carefully.

Beliefs that Contribute to Investors' Failure
After a nearly two-year study that aimed to answer the question, What does true investment success look like?, Suzanne Duncan, global head of research at State Street’s Center for Applied Research, and her team found that the way individual and professional investors made investment decisions was so skewed that achieving both high returns and long-term objectives was nearly impossible.

The Hidden Costs of Retiring Early
Retiring early may sound really tempting. But leaving the workforce just a few years early can saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in additional medical costs.

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