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Rates on the Rise: Strategies for Fixed-Income Investors

A long period of low yields has been challenging for many fixed-income investors, but owning bond investments in a rising interest-rate environment could become even trickier. When interest rates go up, the prices of existing bonds typically fall. Consequently, the Federal Reserve's rate-setting decisions could affect the entire fixed-income market.

Still, bonds are a mainstay for conservative investors who prioritize the preservation of principal over returns, and for retirees in need of a predictable income stream. Although diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against investment loss, owning a diversified mix of bond types and maturities is one way to manage interest-rate and credit risk in your portfolio.

Increase Your Vehicle’s Visibility with a Free Sample From INVIEW VEHICLE TRIM®

Increase Your Vehicle’s Visibility with a Free Sample From INVIEW VEHICLE TRIM®

INVIEW VEHICLE TRIM®, an innovative product that allows your vehicle to be easily seen at night by oncoming traffic from more than 1,000 feet away, is offering several thousand free samples to the driving public.

Applied to the vehicle’s interior door frame in just minutes, INVIEW VEHICLE TRIM® is only noticeable at night — when it’s needed — when the vehicle’s door is open. Made of the same reflective material as a stop sign, INVIEW VEHICLE TRIM® cannot be completely obstructed simply by standing in front of it, unlike a single reflector or light, and never takes away from the appearance of the vehicle.

Should I delay taking my first RMD?

Your first RMD from a traditional IRA and an employer retirement plan must be taken for the calendar year in which you turn 70-1/2. However, if you're still working, you can delay RMDs from your current employer's plan until the year you retire (but only if allowed by the plan and you are not a 5% owner).

In general, you must take your RMDs no later than December 31 of each calendar year to avoid a serious tax penalty equal to 50% of the amount you failed to withdraw. However, a special rule applies to your first RMD. You have the option of delaying your first distribution until April 1 of the following calendar year.

What are required minimum distributions (RMDs)?

Traditional IRAs and employer retirement plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s offer several tax advantages, including the ability to defer income taxes on both contributions and earnings until they're distributed from the plan.

But, unfortunately, you can't keep your money in these retirement accounts forever. The law requires that you begin taking distributions, called "required minimum distributions" or RMDs, when you reach age 70½ (or in some cases, when you retire), whether you need the money or not. (Minimum distributions are not required from Roth IRAs during your lifetime.)

Changes to Social Security Claiming Strategies

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 included a section titled "Closure of Unintended Loopholes" that ends two Social Security claiming strategies that have become increasingly popular over the last several years. These two strategies, known as "file and suspend" and "restricted application" for a spousal benefit, have often been used to optimize Social Security income for married couples.

If you have not yet filed for Social Security, it's important to understand how these new rules could affect your retirement strategy. Depending on your age, you may still be able to take advantage of the expiring claiming options. The changes should not affect current Social Security beneficiaries and do not apply to survivor benefits.

Erie County Clerk, AAAWCNY, AT&T, Sheriff’s Office, NYS Police Host Distracted Driving Awareness Day

Erie County Clerk, AAAWCNY, AT&T, Sheriff’s Office, NYS Police Host Distracted Driving Awareness Day

County Clerk Chris Jacobs and AAA Western and Central New York teamed up with AT&T, Erie County Sheriff’s Department and New York State Police to raise awareness for AAA’s 100 Deadliest Days for Drivers - the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when teen crash fatalities historically climb, the AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign and state distracted driving laws. Distracted Driving Awareness Day in Western New York was hosted May 3 at the Erie County Auto Bureau in the Town of Tonawanda, where young drivers, parents and all those that visited the auto bureau were educated about the dangers of distracted driving.

What's the best way to back up my digital information?

In writing or speaking, redundancy is typically not recommended unless you're really trying to drive a point home. When it comes to your digital life, however, redundancy is not only recommended, it's critical.

Redundancy is the term used to refer to data backups. If you have digital assets that you don't want to risk losing forever--including photos, videos, original recordings, financial documents, and other materials--you'll want to be sure to back them up regularly. And it's not just materials on your personal computer, but your mobile devices as well. Depending on how much you use your devices, you may want to back them up as frequently as every few days.

A good rule to follow is the 3-2-1 rule. This rule helps reduce the risk that any one event--such as a fire, theft, or hack--will destroy or compromise both your primary data and all your backups.