Archive - 2013

1
Consider the Needs of Caregivers
2
Social Security Spousal Benefits Versus Survivor Benefits
3
How Falling Gas Prices Could Help the Economy
4
Do Bank Loan Funds Protect Investors from Duration Risk?
5
How Much Are Employer Benefits Worth?

Consider the Needs of Caregivers

If you have ever been in the role of caregiver to a sick family member, whether for a short period of time or for a long drawn out decline, you know it takes a huge toll on your own life and that of your family.  Caregiving can be an all-consuming task depending on the level of intervention needed.  Many times it forces the caregiver to completely rearrange their lives, taking unpaid leave from work, turning down promotions, stepping away from social engagements, spiritual interactions and even exercise to concentrate fully on caring for their family member.

For many caregivers, they …

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Social Security Spousal Benefits Versus Survivor Benefits

I’ve written a lot about Social Security Spousal Benefits and Survivor Benefits on these pages, but oftentimes there is confusion about how they are applied.  There are things about them that are common, but for the most part there are some real differences that you need to understand as you make decisions about applying for one or the other of these benefits.

For one thing – Survivor Benefits and Spousal Benefits are benefits that you may be entitled to that are based on someone else’s record: your spouse (or ex-spouse) to be exact.  No matter what your own Social Security …

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How Falling Gas Prices Could Help the Economy

I was recently driving to work and heard on the radio about gas prices in New Jersey falling to $2.99 per gallon of regular. Yes, that’s right, gas prices starting with a “2“! I was so happy to hear the story but I was quickly disappointed to realize it was just a passing comment at the end of the business report. I guess it’s hard to compete with a looming U.S. default or some other negative news that has taken priority.

Anyway, it is good news! According to AAA.com, the National Average Price for regular is $3.34 per …

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Do Bank Loan Funds Protect Investors from Duration Risk?

 

  Bank Loan Funds (BLF’s) are a mutual fund asset class that buys corporate loans from banks. They have a higher seniority than bonds during bankruptcy so they are sometimes called “senior secured loans”. The big thrill about this asset class is that they allegedly have no duration risk which is the risk of being hurt by rising interest rates, since the contract specifies that the rate is adjustable on a monthly or quarterly basis. Investors worry that rates are too low and could explode upwards, which would damage the value of long term bonds. Thus owning a Note …

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How Much Are Employer Benefits Worth?

When selecting an employer, understanding the value of the benefits offered is critical. Just because one employer may offer a higher salary doesn’t mean they are offering more total compensation than other options.

Let’s explore the value of benefits received by a 60 year-old employee who is married and has two kids (ages 18 and 15). We’ll assume this individual earns $51,017, which was the median average household income in 2012.

Payroll Taxes

The value of some benefits is easier to calculate than others. For instance, regardless of your income, your employer is required to pay half your FICA – …
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