Day: October 16, 2020

‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman didn’t have a will — like many Americans

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Nearly two months after the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, star of films including “Black Panther” and “42,” his wife has filed documents in probate court, according to recent reports.

The celebrity, who succumbed to cancer at the age of 43 in August, died without a will. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, asked to be named an administrator of Boseman’s estate, according to TMZ, which obtained the probate documents. Ledward married Boseman earlier this year after being together for five years. She listed his estate as almost $1 million — $938,500, to be exact, according to Page Six. The documents state Boseman is also survived by his two parents.

The actor, who continued to work even after being diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer in 2016, is far from the first celebrity to die without a will. Prince died without a will — also known as intestate — which caused chaos when numerous people began claiming family ties to the performer. Guitarist Jimi Hendrix also died without a will.

There are also instances when celebrities haven’t done enough, or the proper, estate planning. Late singer Aretha Franklin allegedly wrote three wills, but some were outdated or had illegible handwriting. The months following the death of Stan Lee, the creator of the Marvel Universe that Boseman played in, were also challenging because of a messy estate plan.

Only a third of people said they had a will in 2020, 24% less than in 2017, according to a Caring.com and YouGov survey of 2,400 people. Older and middle-aged adults were 20% and 25% less likely to have a will this year than last, they said. The reasons? They hadn’t gotten around to it, they didn’t have enough money to leave anyone, it was too expensive to set up or they didn’t know how to go about the process.

While it may seem like a daunting task, creating the right estate plan and filling out the proper documentation is crucial — not just for an individual’s assets after she dies, but also for loved ones left behind. It’s possible to create, improve or update these forms, even during a pandemic — which is yet another example of how important it is to have the right paperwork in place in the event of an unexpected emergency.

Boseman’s death devastated fans around the world, many of whom took home videos and photos of themselves and their children doing the “Wakanda forever” sign, a tribute to the actor and his role in Marvel’s “Black Panther.” The star was beloved for his other films as well, such as when he played baseball legend Jackie Robinson in “42,” musical sensation James Brown in “Get on Up” and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall.”

“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family said after announcing his death. “It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”

Personal Finance Daily: Why California’s unemployment system devolved into chaos during pandemic and some customers will pay hundreds more for the new iPhone 12

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TGIF, MarketWatchers, don’t miss these top stories:

Personal Finance
Why California’s unemployment system devolved into chaos during pandemic

A new report examines the failures of California’s Employment Development Department to help residents obtain their unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘This is a moment in history when suicide prevention must be prioritized as a serious public-health concern’

Increased suicide rate during COVID-19 isn’t a ‘foregone conclusion,’ a new study says.

Trump says: ‘I’m ready to sign a big, beautiful stimulus’ — but many Americans are not banking on it

‘Without knowing when the next round of stimulus and relief measures will arrive, many people continued to keep their expenses low.’

Trump has faced a decade-long tax audit — here’s how long IRS audits usually take and who is more likely to get audited

President Trump described his audit as ‘very routine,’ but legal experts say it is quite unusual.

Some customers will pay hundreds more for the new iPhone 12. Here’s why

Customers in Europe will pay hundreds of dollars more for the new iPhone than their American counterparts, when it becomes available on October 23.

Dr. Fauci urges Americans to make sacrifices during the holidays: ‘Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year’

The veteran epidemiologist on voting in person: ‘It’s just as safe to go and get a cup of coffee in a Starbucks.’

New Yorkers don’t have much hope that the city will recover from COVID-19 anytime soon

The impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, continues to weigh most heavily on people of color in New York.

Elsewhere on MarketWatch
How a contested election in key states could send the U.S. into a constitutional crisis

What you need to know now about the prospect of a contested election.

What will put the final nail in the fiscal stimulus coffin? The calendar, maybe

According to observers on and off Capitol Hill, the sheer logistics involved in a complicated, big package like the kind House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary have been trying to hammer out in recent weeks make it too late or almost too late to see it enacted by the Nov. 3 election day.

U.S. federal budget deficit soars to record$3.1 trillion in 2020

The U.S. government ran a budget deficit of $3.1 trillion in the fiscal year that ended in September in order to pay for the largest fiscal response to an economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Biden’s town hall drew more viewers than Trump’s, early TV ratings figures show

The two presidential candidates participated in simultaneous town-hall events on competing networks Thursday night

Top Ten: Weekend reads: How to divide income — a marital money spat

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Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch’s Moneyist, helps readers with difficult questions about the intersection of money and relationships.

Subjects such as divorce, inheritance and retirement planning are covered, but Fottrell also digs into the way people communicate with their loved ones about money.

This week, he gives a short answer to a question from a woman who wants to be paid back by her husband for covering the greater portion of their expenses in years past. Hundreds of readers left comments, and you can join the conversation.

Stocks for a post-election rally

We’re in the thick of gloom-and-doom season, with so many voices saying the world will end if their candidate loses. The stock market tends to slide heading into Election Day, and there may be additional uncertainty this year if the outcome is contested. But the past nine presidential elections have been followed by long stock-market rallies — no matter which party’s candidate won. So here are Wall Street’s favorite stocks for an election-relief rally.

The case for value stocks after the election

Michael Brush points out that value stocks tend to perform especially well following presidential elections, when government spending tends to increase. He names 20 that are favored for post-election gains.

ILLUSTRATION BY KEVIN WHIPPLE
A better time shopping online

As MarketWatch’s third annual Best New Ideas In Money series continues, Tonya Garcia describes a new technology tailored for the coronavirus lockdown. An increase in online shopping is no surprise, but it takes the fun out of what many people prefer to be a group activity. Wormhole allows you to have fun with your friends while shopping together online.

A career change made easier

The coronavirus crisis has cost millions of people their jobs. For some, the only way forward is a new career. Brett Arends explains how you can receive concentrated, intense career training in as little as three months — for free.

Getty Images
Two lists of ‘best places’

The latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report show that the top cities on the list of best places to live don’t overlap the list of best places to retire.

Three more retirement locations

Silvia Ascarelli helps a couple in their 60s who wish to avoid snow, high humidity and desert heat. She identifies possible locations in Oregon, Tennessee and Ohio.

Try the retirement location tool to do your own destination search.

The U.S. Treasury.

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A guaranteed triple return on U.S. Treasury yields

Mark Hulbert has an easy, guaranteed way for you to double your money in 20 years.

Quelling Facebook

Jonathan Burton interviews Jim Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, about ways to force Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc. to work harder to protect users from misinformation and children from harmful content.

A warning from the Tax Guy

Joe Biden’s tax plan includes an important change to the current rule that allows real-estate investors to swap one piece of property for another to defer capital-gains taxes. Bill Bischoff — MarketWatch’s Tax Guy — explains the details, including some quick moves you can make this year.

Retirement Weekly: News and analysis for those planning for or living in retirement

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From MarketWatch:

Resort owner, baker, independent filmmaker: Entrepreneurs flip the switch on the pandemic: There may be a global crisis, but some Americans are making the most of this crazy time.

Deaths from dementia are up 20% this summer — here’s what you can do to help a loved one: Dementia is a difficult disease to cope with, as the patient and the family of one, but there are ways to make life easier.

You…

Retirement Weekly: 5 ways to protect the financial health of a loved one with dementia — and your own

This post was originally published on this site

I vividly remember the day my husband and I walked into my father-in-law’s normally meticulously kept home 12 years ago and found piles of papers and unpaid bills covering every surface. We were shocked — and we immediately knew something was wrong.

We were right.

Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In the weeks,…

Retirement Weekly: Retiring in a pandemic? Here’s how to get closure and fight off loneliness

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Retiring after a long career usually consists of a series of celebrations. Your employer throws a party. Your colleagues take you to lunch. Your friends and family congratulate you.

A pandemic is the ultimate party pooper.

Transitioning from a full-time job to sudden idleness is rocky even in the best of times. Today, it’s especially challenging.

Retirement Weekly: Straight talk about next year’s Social Security COLA

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You think the presidential contest is controversial? Try discussing Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment.

I should know, because a year ago I devoted a column to discussing the pros and cons of various ways of calculating Social Security’s COLA. In response I got more angry emails than to virtually any other column I’m written over the last two decades.

Perhaps…

Trump says: ‘I’m ready to sign a big, beautiful stimulus’ — but many Americans are not banking on it

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President Donald Trump is ready to sign a “big, beautiful stimulus,” he said during a Thursday night town hall, despite ongoing talks that include skeptics in the Republican-controlled Senate and, earlier in the month, when he said he was done negotiating.

Trump’s willingness might be a ray of hope for Americans badly in need of money, but a new survey suggests many people aren’t waiting for more government assistance before getting their financial affairs in order.

People appear to be paying down debt, and saving money for another rainy day. Economic impact payments distributed in March were mostly used to increase savings accounts and pay down debt, according to a study published this week by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

And if there is a second stimulus check? “Respondents are expecting to spend an average 14% on essential items and an average 7% on non-essential items,” the Fed said. “Our survey results indicate that households expect to consume even smaller shares of a potential second round of stimulus payments, while they expect to use a higher share to pay down their debt.”

‘While it may seem counterintuitive that more people are planning ahead during such a volatile time, it may be precisely the uncertainty of the current moment that makes planning so compelling.’

— Authors of the U.S. Financial Health Pulse 2020 Trends Report

“These findings indicate that the economic impact payments, by increasing both household income and the debt pay down, contributed importantly to the sharp increase in the overall saving rate during the early months of the pandemic,” it added.

A separate survey released earlier this week suggested people are planning ahead with or without a new stimulus check. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans are planning ahead financially this year, compared to the 59% doing it one year earlier and the 60% doing so in 2018, according to an annual survey from the Financial Health Network, a non-profit organization focused on consumer health and resilience.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill earlier this month. The White House proposed a $1.8 trillion package instead, which was rejected by the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as too little and also Republicans who said $1.8 trillion is too much.

“While it may seem counterintuitive that more people are planning ahead during such a volatile time, it may be precisely the uncertainty of the current moment that makes planning so compelling,” researchers wrote.

“Without knowing when the next round of stimulus and relief measures will arrive, many people continued to keep their expenses low, even as states began to reopen their economies.”

The survey looked at transactional data and fielded responses from almost 6,500 people in late July and early August. That’s around the time the $2.2 trillion CARES act’s supplemental $600 weekly unemployment payment ended and many economic impact payments were already distributed.

See also: ‘I don’t want to be someone in need of cash’: How economic slumps inflicts permanent ‘scars’ on spending and saving

A man at a Texas grocery story ahead of Hurricane Laura in late August. People who didn’t receive their stimulus payment by August were six percentage points more likely to say they were worried about running out of food, a new report said.

Getty Images

Also Friday, Americans grew more worried in early October about a resurgence in the coronavirus and slower hiring as millions of people await a second stimulus package, but optimism that the economy will get better next year pushed consumer sentiment higher. The preliminary reading of consumer sentiment index edged up to 81.2 this month from 80.4 in September, the University of Michigan. That’s the highest level since March, just when the pandemic slammed the U.S.

The latest survey from the Financial Health Network adds to the research suggesting the CARES act had immediate benefits for many households. At the same time, the data indicate some Americans are making out much better than others. Furthermore, the gains might only be “temporary because of one-time policies, interventions, and events,” the researchers said.

One-third of survey participants were financial healthy, up from 29% a year earlier. Financial well-being depended on factors like spending less than their income, maintaining a manageable debt and having sufficient savings.

Higher earners had the largest leaps, the report showed. Financially-healthy people making above $100,000 a year grew from 52% to 61% in 2020 while the percentage of people making between $30,000 and $59,999 a year increased from 20% to 24%.

While 39% of white and Asian-American participants were financially healthy, just 15% of Black participants and 24% of Latino participants fell in the same category.

Read: 3 ways the tax code ‘amplifies’ the racial wealth gap

“Building upon the foundation of a strong pre-pandemic economy, it appears that an array of stimulus policies, debt-relief measures, economic shutdowns, and consumer behavior changes have temporarily blunted the worst effects of the economic crisis for many people,” the authors said.

The findings were based on people’s experiences by the summertime, and a lot’s happened since then.

Don’t miss:Good news: You now have until Nov. 21 to claim your stimulus check

For example, data indicated some people were cutting back on groceries by late August. Meanwhile an eviction crisis is potentially looming for an estimated 40 million tenants that’s on pause after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium. (The moratorium doesn’t automatically apply to everyone.)

The survey hinting at the problems some people already faced without stimulus assistance. People who were still waiting on a stimulus payment were six percentage points more likely to worry about running out of food in the coming three months, researchers said.

Those who hadn’t yet received unemployment insurance were 12 percentage points more likely to worry about paying their rent or mortgage, they added.

The TAO: A New Framework to Power the Web

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TAO

The internet has evolved significantly since its inception, spawning the creation of global protocols, frameworks, and new classifications of developers. This has resulted in centralization difficulties, unnecessary complexities, and diminished quality standards loaded with vulnerabilities. The Nexus Tritium, Amine, and Obsidian (TAO) Framework will uproot these historic flaws by recomposing digital relationships. This article provides an overview of the TAO Framework, recent Application Programming Interface (API) improvements, and associated benefits.

As a new era emerges, many platforms are driving excessive emphasis on blockchain. It is often described as an exclusive magical technology, motivated primarily by value speculation. This dilemma is similar to the internet’s, causing decelerated adoption and crippling costs while enabling proprietary industries to exploit deficiencies (i.e. Hardware Wallets, Patented Products, etc.). 

TAO Framework

Nexus views the blockchain as a foundational element of a larger framework. The TAO Framework, named after the three phases of deployment, utilizes a seven-layered software stack powering a register-based process virtual machine. It is designed to deliver a diverse range of outcomes simplistically and effectively. The stack layers and descriptions are reflected below with the “Ledger” being the Three Dimensional Chain (3DC).

Inspired by the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) model, the design provides a scalable foundation with provable security properties. It abstracts the developer away from the blockchain, being valuable as a development framework even for conventional applications (Apps).

Lower Level Library (LLL)

The Lower Level Library (LLL) is the foundation for the framework and interwoven throughout each layer to improve performance, extensibility, and reliability. Architecturally, it is an interchangeable construct requiring development of templates and modules for specific functions. The LLL-TAO or TAO Framework is a series of LLL templates and data models accessible through a JSON-based API, allowing any type of developer to improve their application’s security, scalability, and robustness.

The LLL contains three main components: Cryptography (LLC), Database (LLD), and Protocol (LLP). There are several representations of LLD in the stack; Ledger, Register, Operations, and API. The LLC is primarily applied at the Ledger layer although it can be implemented elsewhere. As a component of the Network Layer, the LLP is designed to be a light, fast protocol that allows a developer to customize their packet design and message interpretation.

TAO Use Cases

For most businesses and organizations, technology transformations translate to delivering customer value expeditiously and effectively. Typically, security considerations are an afterthought due to their invasive nature, high costs, and latency, especially with regard to user experience. Rapid yet tightly budgeted development is key to deploying on-demand services and applications with limitless scaling capabilities.

To unlock this value while incorporating the necessary security for compliance obligations is an enormous undertaking. Included below are use cases and benefits that can be achieved.

  • Cost effective secure Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)
  • Identity, privacy, and elevated security solutions
  • Authentication, authorization, and rights deployment
  • Continuous deployments and integrations 
  • Consistent instruction sets for provisioning 
  • Multi-language application support
  • Dynamic scaling characteristics
  • Quickly build and iterate

The remaining sections highlight three new API methods, including basic use case examples.

Users API

The race to standardize the identity industry has led to a wide range of protocol implementations. For instance, OAUTH2, SAML2, OpenID, and many other authentication options are just scratching the surface. In a previous article, Decentralized Identity (DID), we discussed the risks and implications involving centralized credential systems, and solutions being created using Nexus.

Currently, blockchain authentication relies on at least 256 bits of entropy and disciplined management practices to prevent disastrous consequences. A recent study has shown that over 20% of Bitcoins have been lost since the network was launched. Fortunately, the days of losing blockchain access via cryptographic compromise and private key mismanagement are finally over. 

The User API is synonymous with Signature Chains (SigChains) that provide a familiar authentication mechanism with elevated security while removing the burdens of private key management. SigChains enable the use of cryptographic techniques to authenticate users into a system removing the need for various protocols and third-party products. When the API generates a DID, the genesis identifier creates a unique hash of this username defined on blockchain. The below table outlines the methods currently available for the User API.

Crypto API

The Crypto API provides the ability to manage public-private key pairs, encrypt/decrypt data, and the associated public key hashes. These are held in the SigChain crypto object register that can be used internally and externally by third-parties. The nine named keys in the crypto object register are: auth, lisp, network, sign, verify, cert, app1, app2, and app3. This register is generated automatically as part of the genesis transaction when a SigChain is created via the User API. 

Each entry in the crypto register is a 256-bit hash of the public key for an asymmetric key pair. The scheme used to create the key pairs is configurable, supporting both Brainpool and FALCON. This API provides numerous options for secure development of Apps and DApps alike. Additionally, third-party plug-ins, modules, and products are rendered unnecessary using SigChain capabilities.

As a use case example, a practitioner provides a medical scan to a patient in a PDF. A hash of the data can be associated with a SigChain pointing to the original file. This association provides unequivocal proof of ownership when linked to the DID. However, this could be susceptible to attacks if copied and another asset linking on blockchain is created. To mitigate, the timestamp and nonce from the rightful owner must be verified, preventing document forgery. The following table includes the Crypto API methods:

P2P API

The Peer-to-Peer (P2P) API allows for encrypted and authenticated end-to-end communications between users or DApps. By utilizing a username or genesis ID, a self-signed certificate, authenticated by the Crypto object register, can be used to open a secured connection directly to a node. This negates the need for a Certificate Authority (CA) to combat Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. A role usually reserved for secure proxies or advanced firewalls, can now be achieved with the TAO Framework. Additionally, this API also provides the ability to transmit encrypted data on the network. 

The P2P connection request contains the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the sender and is broadcast over the network to locate the authenticated peer. If the connection request is accepted, a socket will be opened. Due to the nature of the connection, a requesting node must be internet-accessible from the peer with a public IP address or have port forwarding enabled on the Internet Service Provider (ISP) router. This is a short-term requirement until the Location Identifier Separation Protocol (LISP) and Re-encapsulating Tunnel Router (RTR) have completed development. Included below are the API methods:

The Nexus TAO Framework is an indispensable architecture for all types of developers, from blockchain DApp creators, to traditional web designers and beyond. It is important to remember that all sessions are authenticated, enabling user control and traceability, thus eliminating systemic problems inherent to the internet. This cultivates designs that can effectively eradicate spoofing, snooping, and other risks commonly associated with the interconnected world of today.

Featured image: Nexus Blockchain

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Mark Hulbert: You may be able to nearly triple your return with U.S. Treasurys

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I recently overlooked a potentially attractive fixed income investment for retirees and soon-to-be retirees.

In a recent column, you may recall, I focused on Series I U.S. savings bonds. Their interest rates are pegged to inflation, and because of the way their interest is calculated they sometimes are preferable to the Treasury’s Inflation-Protected Securities (or TIPS). I suggested you give them serious consideration because, even though inflation currently is quite low, it quite possibly could become much worse during your retirement years.

An alert reader pointed out that the U.S. Treasury offers yet another fixed income product that also is widely overlooked and which provides a guaranteed return over the next 20 years that is far superior to comparable U.S. Treasury bonds.

I am referring to Series EE U.S. savings bonds, which at first blush hardly look attractive. Currently, for example, they have a fixed interest rate of just 0.1%. But they come with an additional feature that in the right circumstances makes all the difference: After you have held them for 20 years, the U.S. Treasury guarantees that they will have doubled in value.

That works out to an annualized 20-year return of 3.5%. That’s nearly triple the comparable return of a 20-year U.S. Treasury bond, which currently yields 1.2%.

Is there a catch? Yes.

Several in fact. One is that you have to hold these savings bonds for 20 years before they produce this handsome return. In the meantime, they will be earning just 0.1% annualized. And you will forfeit three months’ worth of even this minuscule interest if you decide to sell your savings bond within the first five years in which you own it.

So Series EE savings bonds should not be purchased with money you may need to access over the short or even intermediate terms.

Another catch with these bonds: You give up the opportunity to realize any capital gain if interest rates were to fall from here. If that’s important to you, then you would need to invest in traditional Treasury bonds instead of these savings bonds. Bear in mind, however, that with the opportunity to realize a capital gain if interest rates fall comes with the risk of suffering a capital loss if rates were to rise. Series EE savings bonds, in contrast, are immune to interest rate fluctuations.

Yet another catch with these Series EE bonds: You can’t purchase more than $10,000 of them in any given calendar year, or $20,000 per married couple. This is the same restriction that applies to Series I savings bonds. However, as I indicated in my earlier column, this restriction doesn’t have to be a big obstacle, since we are supposed to only gradually build up our fixed income investments as we approach retirement.

For example, imagine a couple both of whom are 55-years old and jointly own a $1 million dollar retirement portfolio. Over the next 20 years, according to the glide paths that many financial planners recommend, this couple should increase their fixed-income allocation by a total of about $400,000—which works out to $20,000 a year. And, starting at age 75, when these bonds will start reaching their 20-year anniversaries, they will produce $40,000 of annual income for this couple—guaranteed by the U.S. government.

And if this couple were to buy the maximum amount of Series I savings bonds each year, they could increase their fixed-income allocation each year by $40,000.

The bottom line: Series EE savings bonds definitely deserve consideration. You won’t get rich off of them. But how else can you earn a guaranteed return that is nearly triple that of comparable Treasurys?

Mark Hulbert is a regular contributor to MarketWatch. His Hulbert Ratings tracks investment newsletters that pay a flat fee to be audited. He can be reached at mark@hulbertratings.com.

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