Day: August 26, 2019

Personal Finance Daily: What you can do right now to help advance women’s equality in the workplace, and how to get tax breaks when you support your parents

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Happy Monday, MarketWatchers. Don’t miss these top stories:

Personal Finance
Married men earn more than everyone else (including married women and single men)

A sobering reminder on Women’s Equality Day: Men fare better than almost everyone else in the workplace.

What you can do right now to help advance women’s equality in the workplace

Women’s Equality Day celebrates the 19th amendment’s adoption, but it’s also an opportunity to commit to achieving pay and leadership parity.

How to get tax breaks when you support your parents

You don’t have to live with your parent to claim them as a dependent.

One reason some athletes may have bad teeth no matter how much they brush

These common products could be responsible for ‘substantial’ dental problems in sports pros, new research finds.

A letter from a reader on the poverty line: ‘I know what it means to go hungry for five days until you get your next paycheck’

This woman asked the Moneyist for advice on how to invest a $150,000 inheritance: ‘This money has been a life changer for me.’

My mother has always lived off others and now she lives off me — she needs to sort out her life before I snap

‘I told her that I was going to make an appointment for her to speak to a Medicaid specialist, and you would think she’d watched me kick a puppy down the stairs.’

90% of towns qualifying for the Little League World Series reveal an uncomfortable truth about organized sport

The Little League World Series, which started this month, celebrates Americana and youthful athletic glory.

This is exactly how much a payroll-tax cut would help the average American

A simulation by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center explored tax measures that could help mitigate the effects of a recession.

This is America’s No. 1 college major for salary and job availability

This new ranking takes account of pay, unemployment rate and the need for advanced degrees.

Latinos are sorely underrepresented in film

Just 3% of the 100 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2018 featured Latino leads or co-leads, according to a new study.

Elsewhere on MarketWatch
Ukraine church steps out of Moscow’s shadow, angering Putin and allies

The spiritual leader of the global Eastern Orthodox Church has dealt a blow to Putin’s prospects in Ukraine — and plunged both countries and the church itself into a contest for the loyalties of many Ukrainians

Biden slips in national poll to tie with Sanders, Warren

Joe Biden lost ground in a new national poll and is virtually tied for first place with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren as Democrats compete for their party’s presidential nomination.

Where the 2020 Democrats stand on climate change

The roughly 20 Democratic hopefuls for the 2020 presidential race align on rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, protecting federal lands and supporting renewable energy, but their paths to get there differ.

Trump says China ‘very badly’ wants trade deal with U.S.

President Trump on Monday said China “very badly” wants to make a trade deal with the U.S. and suggested he would soon meet with Iran’s president.

Gathering ‘scalps’? Trump allies dig up dirt against perceived enemies in media

Several sources familiar with the operation told the New York Times that a group of Trump supporters has gathered damaging information across social media against hundreds of journalists they believe paint an unfairly negative picture of the president in their coverage.

tZERO, Overstock’s Crypto Platform, Loses a Major Investor

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Overstock’s security token platform, tZERO, has lost a major investor following the departure of CEO Patrick Byrne last week.

Another Blow for tZERO

During interim CEO Jonathan Johnson’s very first investor call in his new role, he confirmed that Makara Capital “will be not investing in tZERO right now.” However, he did mention that Makara would continue to monitor the development of tZERO and possibly reconsider in the future. The news is another blow for Overstock’s security token platform, as in August 2018, Overstock announced that Makara would invest $404 million USD in tZero along with Chinese investment firm GSR Capital but this was reduced to $100 million in March.

Bizzare Turn of Events

Johnson replaced Byrne as CEO last week after the latter abruptly resigned having admitted to a three-year relationship with Maria Butina, a Russian spy currently serving an 18-month sentence in federal prison. Overstock shares have plummeted over 40% following Byrne’s resignation and release of a bizarre statement mentioning “Deep State,” “Men in Black,” and “political espionage” campaigns against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Overstock shares haven’t been the only thing affected by this turn of events, as seen by Makara’s withdrawal from tZero.

>> Ripple (XRP) Popularity Remains Despite the Price Slump in 2019

“In his twenty years as Overstock’s leader, Patrick’s vision for Overstock as an innovation leader has come to fruition. It will be my mission as I take the helm to continue and build on Overstock’s achievements and success […] I am confident Overstock’s future – both in retail and blockchain – is bright,” Johnson said in a statement.

In March, it was revealed that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating tZERO’s potential security token sale. This comes as a result of the commission taking a harder stance on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and disrupted Byrne’s plans to sell the e-commerce wing of Overstock and focus solely on crypto interests.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © nicholashan

Binance Introduces Crypto Lending Service: Binance Lending

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When cryptocurrencies came along around a decade ago and even when the industry went on its astonishing bull run back in 2017, the sector was still regarded as a novelty of sorts. The rise of an actual ecosystem with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at the center remained a pipe dream for most. However, things have changed over the past few years, and now there is a real possibility of cryptocurrencies finding mainstream acceptance. In a new development, which should count as another landmark stride for the crypto sphere, Binance has announced that it is going to introduce a lending service.

Crypto Lending: Key Details

Binance is one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world and attracts a tremendous volume of trade every day. Hence, it goes without saying that it is a service that is being backed by one of the most prominent entities in the crypto world. The service in question is known as Binance Lending, and it is going to go live on August 28. According to reports, the customer will get access to the service on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be able to lend three types of cryptocurrencies. One of them is BNB, which has been developed by Binance, the other is Ethereum Classic, and the third is USDT, which is backed by the US Dollar.

>> Ripple (XRP) Popularity Remains Despite the Price Slump in 2019

The customers who use this service will also be able to earn interest at an annualized rate, and the minimum tenure is going to be of 14 days. The rates of interest are also different for different tokens. ETC will fetch an interest of 7%, while the interest for BNB and USDT have been set at 15% and 10% respectively. It goes without saying that the service is a revolutionary new offering and one that could end up being a highly useful one. However, it remains to be seen whether Binance will expand crypto lending to other cryptocurrencies.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © kongvector

Ripple (XRP) Popularity Remains Despite the Price Slump in 2019

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Over the past years, Ripple (XRP) has grown into one of the world’s top cryptocurrencies and has firmly established itself as the third biggest crypto in the world in terms of market capitalization. That being said, XRP has been one of the worst-performing cryptos this year, despite the fact that almost the entire market has been in the middle of a major bull run for most of the year. Among the top 10 tokens in circulation at the moment, eight have been able to post highly impressive gains so far this year. However, in the case of Ripple, it has been a year to forget so far as the token has lost as much as 20% in its value year-to-date.

Among Worst Performing

It is objectively clear that XRP is currently one of the worst-performing cryptocurrencies among the large-cap ones this year and experts believe that the reason behind this has to do with Ripple, the company that holds around 75% of the tokens. According to data collected by Coin Metrics, Ripple has been selling XRP tokens at a much quicker rate than before, and that has possibly beaten down the price of the token considerably. That being said, Ripple clarified on Friday that it does not believe its actions have had an effect on the price of the token.

>> Ethereum Classic (ETC) Suddenly Rockets 30% in a Week But Why?

On the other hand, the co-founder of Ripple, who is no longer with the company anymore, Jed McCaleb is apparently dumping half a million tokens on a daily basis. Such intense selling pressure is sure to have an effect on the price of the token, and that is what seems to be happening with XRP right now.

A co-founder of Multicoin Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund, stated that the company has raised its rate of selling considerably over the course of the past three quarters and investors are only now realizing what Ripple has been up to.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © adriantoday

Ethereum Classic (ETC) Suddenly Rockets 30% in a Week But Why?

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Ethereum Classic

While Ethereum has been in the middle of a bit of flux due to the halving and other associated factors, Ethereum Classic has been surging. The coin jumped by as much as 30% over the past week and much of the gains have been due to the slew of positive news that has come about with relation to Ethereum Classic.

The coin started off the past week at $5.50, and today it has climbed to as much as $7.20 as more and more investors piled onto it. Here is a look at some of the reasons why it rose by that much.

Key Drivers

One of the biggest reasons for optimism with regards to Ethereum Classic is the upcoming Atlantis Fork that is going to take place on September 13 next week. It is believed that the fork event is going to improve security considerably on the blockchain, and that has become a source of excitement for many investors. In addition to that, the Atlantis Fork is also expected to lead to better compatibility with Ethereum as well.

Ethereum Classic Labs, which has been a center of research and development, has also made an important announcement. In a new development, it has emerged that North Block Capital, an investment group based out of London, has joined the Studio Program.

>> Investors Consider Cutting Ties with Facebook’s Libra Amid Regulatory Scrutiny

The association with North Block Capital could prove to be a hugely important event since the investment group is going to help sell the token in Asia. As everyone knows, Asia remains one of the most important markets for cryptocurrencies. As far as crypto usage and development are concerned, the continent is lightyears ahead of many other regions.

Last but not least, the Ethereum Classic event is also going to take place in the first week of October, and generally, the price of a token rises when such an event takes place.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © zentilia

The Margin: One reason some athletes may have bad teeth no matter how much they brush

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This may be tough news for athletes to swallow.

The sports drinks, gels and bars that many jocks use to fuel their workouts may also be wrecking their teeth, according to a new study published in the British Dental Journal. And that can hurt their performance.

University College London researchers looked into why so many high-level competitors suffer so many dental problems. About half of elite U.K. athletes have signs of tooth decay compared to one-third of adults the same age in the general population. And almost four in 10 players on eight professional soccer clubs for England and Wales had cavities, according to a 2015 study. What’s more, 45% of them said they were “bothered” by the state of their teeth, and 7% said it affected their ability to train or play.

So the UCL team surveyed 352 elite and professional athletes about how often they brushed and flossed; how much sugar they consumed; whether they smoked; if they chewed gum; as well as the last time they visited a dentist. The athletes represented 11 different sports (including swimming, cycling, soccer, rowing, hockey and sailing), and 256 of them were training for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

And while these elites practiced better oral hygiene than the average person (94% brushed twice a day, and 44% flossed regularly), and they were less likely to smoke and more likely to follow a healthy diet, the researchers reported that the athletes had a “substantial” amount of dental problems. About half (49.1%) had untreated tooth decay, and almost a third (32%) reported that their oral health had a negative impact on their training and performance. And the researchers blamed these issues on sugary supplements: 87% of them sipped sports drinks; 70% used energy gels; and 59% chewed nutrition bars.

Related: Energy drinks may be linked to frightening side effects for your heart

“The sugar in these products increases the risk of tooth decay and the acidity of them increases the risk of erosion,” wrote Dr. Julie Gallagher from the UCL Eastman Dental Institute Centre for Oral Health and Performance, in a news release accompanying the report. “This could be contributing to the high levels of tooth decay and acid erosion we saw during the dental check-ups.”

This builds on findings carried out by the same Centre since the London 2012 Olympics, which also previously suggested that elite athletes have a greater risk of oral diseases because of the dry mouth that many experience during intensive training. Saliva plays an important role in neutralizing acids in the mouth, as well as killing germs and protecting tooth enamel, and breathing less during intense exercise means that there is less saliva providing all of these health benefits. So you combine less spit with a high volume of sugary and acidic drinks and supplements, and athletes’ teeth and gums could be facing a world of pain.

Indeed, the FDI World Dental Federation warned about sports drinks and certain foods and supplements with added sugars and acidic ingredients during a June PSA about athletes and oral health, noting that consuming these things “can cause cavities and increase the risk of gum disease and tooth erosion.” It also warned that sports-related stress can lead to dehydration, dry mouth and teeth-grinding.

But the solution is not as simple as athletes switching from Gatorade PEP, +2.25%, Powerade KO, +1.14%  and Gu gels to just drinking water. There’s a reason these products are often packed with sugar and sodium; these carbohydrates and electrolytes help with hydration and athletic performance, particularly in long or intense workouts. And this had fueled a sports drink industry expected to hit $28.5 billion globally by 2023. So what is an athlete to do?

“I’m not advocating that we eliminate these sort of things — especially for elite athletes, because they have different needs than kids playing soccer … or a weekend marathoner,” Dr. Matt Messina, a spokesman for the American Dental Association, told MarketWatch. “It comes back to everything in moderation. If we reduce the amount of sugar and acidity being consumed in sports drinks or gels, and increase the amount of cleaning of the teeth and good oral hygiene, I think we can fight this to a standstill.”

Some sports and energy drink makers are already cutting back on the added sugars. Monster Beverage launched its zero-sugar and zero-calorie Reign “body fuel” beverage line in March, and Amazon AMZN, +0.73% has rolled out its own sugar-free sports drinks under its Solimo brand.

Related: Why Coke and Amazon are chasing the energy-drink buzz

The FDI also recommends that athletes rinse their mouths with water after sipping a sweetened drink or consuming a sports gel or nutrition bar, and to remain hydrated during the day to keep their mouths from getting too dry. They should also continue to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time with a fluoride toothpaste, as well as visiting a dentist at least once a year.

“Just because people are athletic, it doesn’t mean they’re not prone to diseases of mortals,” said Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. “This study shows that even if you have a six-pack, you still need to practice effective oral hygiene.”

But the average person or weekend warrior playing in a local sports league or training for a race can probably cut down on how many of these sports drinks and products that they use, since they are not performing at such a high level. “More water is better,” said Dr. Messina. “Alternate a bottle of plain water or fluoridated water with a sports drink, so you cut [the sports drinks] in half.” He suggests swishing a fluoride rinse in the mouth once or twice a day to further wash away any sugar or bacteria. Some research has also suggested that eating a piece of whole fruit, like a banana packed with potassium, is as beneficial as gulping a sports drink.

Dr. Nammy Patel, who operates a San Francisco dental practice, also recommends that athletes sip sports drink through a straw so that the substance bypasses the teeth. “Chew a xylitol based gum to keep the mouth moist. Cut down on the frequency of drinks or drinking more water. Get more frequent teeth cleanings. Use a toothpaste with fluoride and make sure you’re getting enough calcium,” she added.

And Dr. Messina also recommends that athletes of all levels check in with their dentist regularly to customize a healthy routine that works for them and their performance needs. “I can offer suggestions with a broad brush,” he said. “But if you see a dentist on regular basis, they can spot problems and offer individualized suggestions for your situation.”

Deep Dive: This dividend-stock strategy is for investors who want an attractive monthly income stream

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(This is the second in a series about dividend stocks in today’s low interest-rate environment based on interviews with professional investors. The first piece included a custom screen of 25 dividend stocks by John Buckingham, editor of The Prudent Speculator.)

For investors who have been hungry for income, today’s low interest rates have erased many options from the menu.

That’s where Federated Investors’ Daniel Peris comes in.

Peris, head of the Strategic Value Dividend Team at Federated, takes a different approach, focusing on providing an increasing income stream to shareholders of three mutual funds he co-manages.

Those include the $9.5 billion Federated Strategic Value Dividend Fund SVALX, -1.60%, the $423 million Federated International Strategic Value Dividend Fund IVFLX, -0.60%  and the Federated Global Strategic Value Dividend Fund GVDLX, -1.39%, which is much smaller, with $1.6 million in total assets and was established in January 2017. Including private and institutional accounts and advisory relationships, Peris’ team manages about $30 billion.

The Federated Strategic Value Dividend Fund is focused on the U.S. market, with the Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index DJDVP, +0.78%  as a benchmark. The Federated International Strategic Value Dividend Fund is made up of non-U.S. stocks, and its benchmark is the MSCI World ex-U.S. High Dividend Yield Index. The Federated Global Strategic Value Dividend Fund, as its name implies, includes U.S. and non-U.S. stocks; its benchmark is the MSCI World High Dividend Yield Index. IVFLX, -0.60%

Focusing on income

Peris said the main objective of the Federated Strategic Value Dividend Fund is to provide shareholders a monthly income stream, while also aiming for capital growth over the long term. An important goal of the fund is to increase the portfolio yield (before fees) by 4% to 5% a year, and Peris expects share-price appreciation to match dividend appreciation.

The 30-day SEC yield for the fund’s R6 shares (the share class with the lowest annual expense ratio of 0.79%) is 4.17%, however, Peris said the 30-day yield, which looks backwards, “is almost impossible to experience.”

It may be more reasonable to look at the fund’s weighted average dividend yield of 4.67% in the second quarter. The fund distributes all of its income, so it is not as simple as subtracting the 0.79% in annual expenses from the portfolio yield. The expenses come out of the fund’s total assets. If we were to subtract the annual expense ratio from the second-quarter portfolio yield, we would have a yield of 3.88%. That is an attractive yield in this environment, considering the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.27%  is 1.53% and the yield on 30-year Treasury bonds TMUBMUSD30Y, -0.12%  is 2.02%. (The weighted aggregate yield for the S&P 500 is 2.05%, according to FactSet.)

For the class R shares, dividends distributed during 2018 totaled 27 cents a share. If we divide this by the closing price of $6.15 on Dec. 29, 2017, we have a dividend yield of 4.39% for 2018.

Looking further back, annual dividend distributions for the Federated Strategy Value Dividend Fund’s Class R shares increased 8% in 2018, after increasing 9% in 2017. The Class R shares were launched in June 2016.

It is important to look at the annual distributions, because those include special dividends that can vary greatly by company, industry and even for the entire market from year to year. The fund’s institutional shares SVAIX, -1.60%  have a longer track record (and a current annual expense ratio of 0.81%). Here are annual dividend distributions per share over the past five years, according to FactSet:

Year Dividends distributed per share Increase from previous year
2018 $0.27 8%
2017 $0.25 9%
2016 $0.23 0%
2015 $0.23 -4%
2014 $0.24 0%
Source: FactSet
Selecting stocks

Peris said he and his team look for companies with “a clear path to dividend growth,” and try to avoid companies that may be likely to cut their dividend payouts.

Many managers will look for companies with ratios of dividends to free cash flow that aren’t very high, to be comfortable that there is headroom to increase dividends. But Peris said companies with high payout ratios are typically attractive to him, because “they have less cash available for buybacks.”

While being careful to emphasize that he wasn’t looking to “starve” companies of cash they need to reinvest in their businesses, Peris said, “once they have made all their relative investments, we are inclined to ask for the rest.”

“The U.S. stock market is set up completely differently, where free cash is spent on repurchases,” he said.

When asked about how he decides when to sell a stock, Peris said: “Over the past 10 years, the vast majority of exits has been companies whose price appreciation has been way ahead of the dividend increase rate.”

Top holdings

Here are the top 10 holdings (of 41) of the Federated Strategic Value Dividend Fund as of July 31:

Company Ticker Dividend yield Total return – 2019 through Aug. 23 Share of fund
AT&T Inc. T, -0.07%   5.86% 28.0% 6.1%
Philip Morris International Inc. PM, -2.28% 5.61% 25.1% 5.6%
Dominion Energy Inc. D, +0.66% 4.83% 8.9% 4.5%
AbbVie, Inc. ABBV, +0.97% 6.49% -25.5% 4.0%
BP PLC ADR BP, +0.54% 6.74% -0.1% 4.0%
Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM, +0.72% 5.16% 2.5% 4.0%
Coca-Cola Co. KO, +0.89% 2.98% 15.4% 4.0%
Verizon Communications Inc. VZ, +0.92% 4.31% 2.6% 3.8%
Southern Company SO, +0.68% 4.30% 35.9% 3.7%
Duke Energy Corp. DUK, +0.21% 4.17% 8.5% 3.6%
Sources: Federated Investors, FactSet

Here are the top 10 holdings (of 43) of the Federated International Strategic Value Dividend Fund as of July 31:

Company Ticker Dividend yield Total return – 2019 through Aug. 23 Share of fund
BCE Inc. BCE, +0.06% 5.17% 20.0% 5.1%
National Grid PLC NG, +0.61% 5.55% 16.1% 4.8%
Enbridge Inc. ENB, +1.04% 6.84% 10.0% 4.3%
Sanofi SAN, +0.29% 4.00% 5.7% 4.0%
Emera Inc. EMA, +0.25% 4.18% 33.2% 3.9%
BP p.l.c. BP, -1.30% 6.86% 3.0% 3.7%
Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. ZURN, +0.26% 5.47% 25.6% 3.5%
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM, +0.92% 5.76% 1.0% 3.4%
TC Energy Corp. TRP, +0.68% 4.66% 35.2% 3.4%
Total SA FP, +0.60% 6.06% -3.2% 3.3%
Sources: Federated Investors, FactSet
Income and yield-to-cost

Rather than pointing out that a focus on total return may be best for long-term investors seeking growth, we have looked at income — and increasing income — in this article. Peris said it was “super important” for investors to understand yield-to-cost. If you buy shares of a company that later raises its dividend, the current yield may not increase if the shares have risen, but your yield, based on what you paid for your shares, will increase. The same will be true for a mutual fund that increases its dividend distributions.

An excellent example of how patience can pay off is provided by Southern Co. KO, +0.89%, the ninth-largest holding of the Federated Strategic Value Dividend Fund.

If you had purchased shares of Southern on Aug. 22, 2014, you would have paid $43.68 a share. The quarterly dividend at that time was $0.525 a share, for a yield of 4.81%. The share price on Aug. 23, 2019, was $57.68. The current quarterly dividend distribution rate for Southern is 62 cents a share. So the current yield has declined to 4.30%. If you didn’t reinvest the dividends, your yield-to-cost would have increased to 5.68%. That is an attractive yield in this environment, and in this case you would also have enjoyed capital appreciation of 32% over the five years.

Don’t miss: 25 dividend stocks selected for value by an outperforming money manager

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Encore: Only a minority of people ages 50 to 62 work steadily in jobs with benefits

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We just finished a paper on how older workers use “nontraditional” jobs — that is, jobs without health and retirement benefits. In the process of answering that question, we found that only 26 percent of older workers were employed steadily in traditional jobs with benefits. This finding has really changed how I think about people’s work lives.

Let me back up. Despite the increased focus on “nontraditional” jobs, it is unclear how older workers use these jobs and how they might affect retirement security. If some older workers end up in nontraditional work for much of their later careers, then they likely will end up worse off financially. If, instead, older workers use nontraditional jobs only temporarily before returning to traditional work or as a bridge to retirement, then they may stay working longer than expected and improve their financial situation.

To gain a better understanding of how older workers use nontraditional jobs, we followed workers in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) from ages 50 to 62 to determine at each age whether they are in a traditional job, a nontraditional job, not working, or retired. Then we used sequence analysis to group older workers who have similar employment patterns.

That process allocated people to five groups (see the figure below). The first two involved individuals who do not work consistently throughout their 50s and 60s. These individuals are either in an “Early Retirement” sequence with retirement in their 50s (21% of sample members) or are in a “Weak Attachment” sequence, with frequent spells of not working despite not retiring (16%). The next three sequences consist of people who work most of the time, and include sequences of work that are: “Mostly Nontraditional” (11%); “Mostly Traditional” (26%); and “Traditional” (26%).

From my perspective, the two most interesting results are the following:

First, with respect to how nontraditional jobs are used, the vast majority of nontraditional work is done by those who do it often, and it is used less often as a bridge to retirement or a stopgap to unemployment.

Second, and even more interesting — although peripheral to the study — is that only 26% of the sample held a traditional job with benefits steadily from ages 50 to 62.

Before the results of this study, as well as recent work on 401(k) balances, I had thought that the norm was traditional employment, with most people holding a steady job with health and retirement benefits from ages of 50 to 62. Deviations were the exception. The goal, to my mind, was to get people to stay in that steady job until their late 60s. It turns out, though, that people’s labor market experiences are significantly less secure than I had ever thought.

More from MarketWatch Retirement

How to create more female corporate leaders

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If U.S. businesses changed their culture, women would be five times more likely to become leaders.

That’s the conclusion of a major report by Accenture ACN, +0.93%  into workplace culture in the U.S. and around the world. Accenture identified 40 factors that are statistically shown to influence advancement. They include a diverse leadership team that sets, shares and measures equality targets openly, family-friendly policies and practices, flexible work schedules and respectful policies such as not asking employees to conform to a dress or appearance code.

The results provide some insight into the persistent gender wage gap on Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26, which commemorates the 19th amendment to the constitution, giving women the right to vote. Accenture last year surveyed more than 22,000 working men and women with a college education in 34 countries — including 1,400 employees in the U.S. — to measure their perception of important issues that contribute to their workplace culture. Out of more than 200 personal and workplace factors, including policies, behaviors and collective opinions of employees, Accenture came up with a list of 14 factors that are most likely to affect change:

• Gender diversity as a priority for management

• Diversity target or goals shared outside the organization

• Clearly stating gender pay-gap goals and ambitions

• Progress in attracting, retaining and progressing women

• The company has a women’s network

• That women’s network is also open to men

• Employees avoid long-distance travel via virtual meetings

• Working from home when need be

• Comfortable environment to report sexual harassment

• Men are encouraged to take parental leave

• Never asking employees to change their appearance

• Employees feel free to be creative and innovative

• Remote working is widely available and commonplace

• Providing training to ensure staff skills stay relevant

Don’t miss: The shocking profession with the biggest gender wage gap

In workplaces where these factors were most common, women were four times more likely to reach senior manager and director levels — and five times more likely to reach these levels in the U.S. For every 100 male managers, there could be up to 84 female managers, compared with the current ratio of 100 to 34, and up to 87 female managers for every 100 male managers in the U.S. Globally, that equates to a lift in women’s earnings of $2.9 trillion or $20,000 per year for women in the U.S.

Currently, women are 22% less likely to reach manager level than their male peers, while men are 47% more likely to reach these positions than their female peers, Accenture found. In the U.S., women are paid 83 cents on the dollar compared to men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The overall global gender gap can be closed in exactly 100 years across the 106 countries covered since the inception, according to the World Economic Forum‘s Global Gender Gap Index.

Also see: How can I treat my daughters equally when one college education cost far more?

The battle for equal pay starts before men and women finish school. Expanding class size in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classrooms has the greatest negative effect on female class participation, according to a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal BioScience. Large classes start negatively impacting students once they consist of more than roughly 120 students, the authors found.

Women make up only 26% of people in computer and mathematical occupations, 21% of computer programmers and 16% of those in architecture and engineering, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, STEM careers are some of the most lucrative.

Don’t miss: Can I treat my daughters equally when one college education costs more?

Earlier this year, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine put a price tag on the pay gap’s lasting effects for some by applying wealth accumulation models to the medical school faculty’s own salary and gender data. A woman hired in 2005, constantly working under a 2.6% pay differential, lost out on $501,416 in salary and investment returns over 30 years.

And when women do join a male-majority team? Men change their attitudes about mixed-gender productivity and change their previously held views of gender roles, according to a new study by economists at University of California, San Diego, Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in Oslo and the Swedish Institute for Social Research at Stockholm University. They randomly assigned female recruits to boot camp squads in the Norwegian military, but not others.

(This story was updated on Aug. 26, 2019.)

Tax Guy: How to get tax breaks when you support your parents

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If you pay over half the cost of supporting a parent, the parent is your dependent for federal income tax purposes. As such, you may be entitled to some tax breaks. Here’s the story.

Claim favorable head of household filing status

For unmarried individuals, a common (and expensive) error is filing as a single taxpayer when HOH status is allowed. Compared to single taxpayers, heads of households are entitled to wider tax brackets and bigger standard deductions. So, using HOH filing status can save you significant bucks at tax return time.

If you’re unmarried and pay over half the cost of maintaining your dependent parent’s principal home for the year, you can use beneficial HOH filing status based on your dependent parent. There’s no requirement for you and your dependent parent to actually live in the same household.

You must pay over half of your parent’s support for your parent to be treated as your dependent for HOH filing status eligibility purposes.

Your parent must also pass a gross income test to be treated as your dependent for HOH filing status eligibility purposes. According to IRS Notice 2018-70, your dependent parent passes the gross income test for 2019 if he or she has gross income of no more than $4,200. For the gross income test, ignore any tax-free Social Security benefits. However those tax-free benefits must be considered in determining if you pay over half of your parent’s support.

Example: You are an unmarried individual. In 2019, you pay over half the support for your widowed mother, and you pay over half the cost of maintaining her principal home for the year. You mother lives in her own home.

Her gross income consists of $12,000 of tax-free Social Security benefits and $300 of interest income, all of which she uses for her own support. Because the Social Security benefits are ignored for the gross income test, your mother passes that test.

Conclusion: For 2019, your mother qualifies as your dependent for HOH filing status eligibility purposes because: (1) she passes the gross income test, (2) you pay over half of her support for the year, and (3) you pay over half of the cost of maintaining her home for the year.

Claim the new $500 credit

For 2018-2025, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act established a new $500 tax credit for dependents who are not under-age-17 children who qualify for the $2,000 child tax credit. So a dependent parent can qualify you for the new $500 credit. However, your parent must pass the aforementioned gross income test to be classified as your dependent for purposes of this credit. You must also pay over half of your parent’s support.

Deduct medical expenses that you pay

For 2019, you can claim an itemized deduction for medical expenses paid for you, your spouse, and your dependents to the extent those expenses exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). While clearing the 10%-of-AGI hurdle can be difficult, it can be less difficult when you’re paying significant medical expenses for a dependent parent. You must pay over half of your parent’s support for your parent to be classified as your dependent for medical expense deduction purposes. However, the aforementioned gross income test is N/A when determining if a parent is your dependent for medical expense deduction purposes.

Warning: To claim deductions for a dependent parent’s medical expenses, you must make direct payments to medical service providers. Simply reimbursing your parent for expenses that your parent paid will not get you any deduction.

Identify qualifying parental expenses

For itemized medical expense deduction purposes, your dependent parent’s medical expenses can include (but are not limited to) the following:

* Health insurance premiums that you pay.

* Out-of-pocket medical expenses that you pay. These can include insurance co-payments and deductibles and expenditures for dental and vision care.

* Qualified long-term care (LTC) insurance premiums that you pay. Premiums for qualified LTC insurance policies count as medical expenses for itemized deduction purposes, subject to the age-based limits shown below. For each covered person, count the lesser of: (1) premiums actually paid or (2) the applicable age-based limit. For 2019, the age-based premium limits are as follows.

Age as of 12/31/19 and maximum LTC premium deduction

40 or less $420

41 to 50 $790

51 to 60 $1,580

61 to 70 $4,220

71 and up $5,270

Add up all qualifying expenses paid by you

To determine if you incurred enough medical expenses to claim an itemized deduction, add up all the qualifying medical expenses for you, your spouse, and your dependents–including your dependent parent if applicable. To itemize, your total itemized deductions must exceed your allowable standard deduction. For 2019, the following standard deduction amounts generally apply.

* $12,200 for single filers.

* $18,350 for heads of households.

* $24,400 for married joint-filing couples.

The Bottom line

As you can see, helping out your parent can qualify you for some well-deserved tax breaks. Good for you.

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