Day: December 7, 2020

The Margin: This weather map predicts whether you’ll have a white Christmas

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Dreaming of a white Christmas? This map shows where there will most likely be snow on the ground on Dec. 25, as well as the places where the probability of that happening has a snowball’s chance in — well, you know.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released an interactive map of the lower 48 states that shows the historic probability that a place will have at least one inch of snow on the ground on Dec. 25.

It draws on three-decade averages of several climatological measurements, including daily and monthly normal temperatures, precipitation, snowfall, frost/freeze dates and more from about 9,800 NOAA National Weather Service stations across the country.

NOAA map predicts the probability of there being snow on the ground on Christmas Day.

NOAA

The darkest gray areas show places where the probability of seeing a white coverlet of snow coating the yard on Christmas Day is less than 10%. It should come as no surprise that warmer and dryer spots along the West Coast, the Gulf Coast and the Deep South are the least likely to see any snow on Christmas.

The white areas, on the other hand, suggest places where the probability of waking up to Christmas snowdrifts is greater than 90%. These snowy spots include Minnesota, Maine, upstate New York, the Allegheny Mountain country of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, as well as anywhere in Idaho.

Indeed, the first wintry storm of the season already began dropping wet, heavy snow on New England over the weekend, leaving about 200,000 Maine residents without power on Saturday.

Click on NOAA’s interactive White Christmas map here for a closer look at your local forecast.

Of course, predicting the weather is a notoriously imperfect science, so your actual weather conditions on Dec. 25 may vary. NOAA suggests that consumers use this map as a guide to show where snow on the ground is more likely — which can help with making purchasing decisions such as whether to invest in snow tires on your vehicle, or how much to tip a delivery person when they’re delivering your Grubhub order through the white and drifted snow.

Read:Are winter tires worth the cost?

Related: 8 easy tasks to make your car safer for winter

And the NOAA report recommends that you look up your local forecast at Weather.gov for the most accurate Christmas Day weather prediction in your neck of the woods.

Raidenbo Secures Its Leading Position by Offering Innovative Trading Solutions for Traders

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Raidenbo

Raidenbo, a fast-growing exchange, has emerged as one the most promising places to trade and earn. Raidenbo offers modern technology, hot markets, and short-term trading opportunities around the clock. With Raidenbo, you can experience the thrill of moving markets on an innovative exchange, with fixed levels of risk. We empower you to trade your way.

With expertise in technology and trading, the Raidenbo team builds the trading platform with the ultimate goal of seeking solutions that deliver optimum results for all clients. Its progressive approach coupled with the innovation offers adaptable multiple trading and technology solutions has led to the rapid growth of the exchange recently. As far as traders are concerned, it focuses on their secure trading requirements so that clients across the globe will be able to benefit from an enhanced level of security and always be assured that they are dealing with a highly reliable exchange.

The technology behind is what really helps Raidenbo stand out from the typical trading platforms. Apart from the highly secured trading system, Raidenbo’s team always strives to innovate and create new features that help traders make better trading decisions. Raidenbo is proud to be one of the first trading platforms to develop and implement its own indicators, which are calculated from highly sophisticated algorithms but are still simple enough for traders to use. Raidenbo is also famous for being transparent by utilizing real-time price data provided by leading exchanges in the cryptocurrency world.

Trading on Raidenbo is easy to start. With a Demo account, users can practice and test their trading strategies before putting in the real money. Regardless of trading skills and backgrounds, everyone can develop a profitable trading strategy and earn sustainable income on Raidenbo. With a customer-centric approach, Raidenbo’s team always wants to help clients earn more trading on the platform, and the recent affiliate program has helped thousands of traders create a second stream of income apart from trading. With Raidenbo’s affiliate program, traders can earn unlimited passive income just by introducing and helping other new traders start their own trading journey on Raidenbo.

Moreover, the exchange is introducing many tournaments for traders to participate in and receive amazing prizes by actively trading on Raidenbo. There will be weekly and monthly tournaments that reward participants based on their trading volume. The more they trade, the better chance that they will be in the top traders that receive rewards during the tournament period. This would ultimately benefit all clients – both affiliate participants and traders will earn more due to the increase in their trading volume.

As the needs of the retail traders continue to evolve, Raidenbo is committed to offering new products and features to meet these demands and become one of the best places for traders of all skill sets to trade and earn. By constantly integrating new technologies into the trading platform, such as AI-powered order matching engine, smart authentication and asset management, unlimited copy trading, and social trading, Raidenbo is expected to attract more and more traders and secure its leading position in this fast-growing industry.

Featured image: Raidenbo

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Outside the Box: You can cut your tax bills with smart charitable giving strategies

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As we enter the holiday season, many naturally turn their thoughts to charitable giving. This year — clearly a highly unusual one in so many ways — there is even more need to carefully review philanthropic options that also have tax advantages.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt giving and increased need. Many people who enjoy attending dinners or auctions to raise money for causes have been unable to do so since March. Almost 60% of U.S. charitable organizations say they expect a drop in giving compared with last year, according to an Association of Fundraising Professionals survey in June. Yet need has climbed. The number of food-insecure Americans could soar to more than 50 million this year, up 35% from 2018, according to an October report by Feeding America.

This could be an opportune time to optimize tax deductions with charitable giving. Interest rates are historically low and a 10-year Treasury rate of less than 1% won’t last forever. Such rock-bottom rates may help some taxpayers receive extraordinary tax benefits from certain charitable vehicles.

There’s also the calendar to consider. Taxpayers have until the end of the year to meet IRS deadlines, take advantage of tax rates that are locked in and qualify for charitable vehicles that are currently in place. There are two strategies they may want to consider: charitable lead annuity trusts and donor-advised funds. Note: these strategies tend to work best for those who can afford to designate a proportion of their income to charity on an ongoing basis.

An under-the-radar option

A charitable lead annuity trust is a philanthropic option that’s a bit under the radar. It can be a good fit for those who have recently received a large influx of cash from, for example, selling a business or investment. It’s also an option for those who haven’t been able to deduct as much they’d like from their taxes.

The trust allows a donor to give cash, stock or real estate to a trust while offsetting income tax in the current year and potentially future estate taxes.

Even Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis included a charitable lead trust in her will, perhaps attracted by this benefit: Whatever assets are left in the fund at the end of the fixed term go to the donor’s beneficiaries tax-free.

A huge reason charitable givers should think about this kind of trust now: the lower the starting interest rate, determined by Section 7520 of the IRS code, the more the donor and his or her beneficiaries may benefit — and the IRS’ current applicable rate is near a historic low at a mere 0.47% as of Nov. 10. Compare that to 1.91% in November of last year, or 3.65% in the same month of 2018.

No double dipping

An upfront tax deduction and the ability to reduce estate and gift taxes — as well as the potential to pass on assets to heirs — make charitable lead trusts potentially very appealing.

But there are caveats. The funds in the trust are subject to investment management risk. After the initial tax deduction, donors can’t take any more deductions. No double dipping. Also, any capital gains or losses inside the trust flow back to the donor.

Charitable lead annuity trust are very complex vehicles. In addition to consulting with attorneys and accountants, it’s critical to work with a financial adviser to make sure any use of the trust is part of a holistic plan that aligns with your overall goals and interests.

Calling the shots

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are another attractive option for those who may have had a windfall this year or a bump in income. DAFs are a viable alternative to writing a check directly to a qualified organization or, for those with substantial wealth, starting a private charitable foundation.

Nonprofit divisions of financial service companies and other third parties, such as a community or church group, administer and legally control donor-advised funds. But as the name implies, individuals or families who set up the funds retain the ability to suggest or advise on where the funds should go.

The donors retain the ability to suggest or advise the donor on fund distributions.

Donors designate which IRS-designated 501(c) (3) charities receive money from the fund. They can change which organizations receive money and how much they get as often as they want.

What’s more, DAFs can be more attractive than family foundations because donors don’t have to worry about legal and administrative fees and can start one with as little as $5,000.

Any gift for the fund is an immediate tax deduction and the donor isn’t required to distribute it immediately. If you’re unhappy with the way one charity is operating, you can switch the distribution to one you like better. The donor calls the shots.

The tax benefits of a donor-advised fund are similar to contributions to religious institutions, colleges or public charities. Taxpayers who itemize can write off their cash donations up to 50% of the adjusted gross income. Those donating stock, real estate or any other asset that has appreciated can write off up to 30% of adjusted gross income. The unused amount can be carried forward up to five more years to be used as a deduction against income.

DAFs can serve as an appealing tax strategy for someone holding highly appreciated stock. If you were lucky enough to buy 100 shares of Apple AAPL, +1.34%   in 2008, for example, you can claim the current price of the stock as your tax-deductible donation. Meanwhile, the fund sells the stock and keeps the proceeds, but you don’t have to pay capital gains tax. In that way, you optimize your financial liabilities and make a powerful gift to charity at the same time.

People do need to keep in mind that once a donation is made to a DAF, it’s a completed gift. There’s no going back.

How much in benefits?

The tax benefit depends on your effective tax rate. For philanthropic options like DAFs, the benefit is not necessarily how much more you get in in tax savings today, but the control you maintain over your donation.

And in the case of a charitable lead trust, it’s the ability to potentially retain some of your money down the road in the form of a tax-free payment to an heir or a beneficiary when the term of the trust runs out.

For both these strategies, financial advisers play a crucial role.

They will — or should — have a comprehensive plan for you and can identify whether the strategy is appropriate. Does it make sense for you or not?

Advisory firms will walk you through the financial planning process to make sure the tax or philanthropic option is truly viable.

You never want a complex strategy involving significant assets to be a one-off, where you’re just trying to get an edge on your taxes. You have to know how it affects the other pieces of your overall plan.

Eldin Foco is a Senior Wealth Manager and Certified Retirement Counselor at CIG Capital Advisors.

Martin Swiecki is a Senior Wealth Manager and Certified Financial Planner at CIG Capital Advisors.

The Moneyist: I’m 12 and in 7th grade. My parents are divorced and I earn $10 a month from my podcast. Should I invest in stocks?

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Dear Moneyist,

I am 12 and in the 7th grade. I run a small podcast and make $10 a month. I am thinking about investing in stocks, but I don’t know if I should. Me, my mom, sister, and brother live in a duplex with another family. My parents are divorced and we see our dad every other weekend and on holidays. I am thinking of investing in stocks with my podcast money.

But should I? We are using MarketWatch to learn how to trade stocks and stuff at school, but we start off with $500,000, and I would be starting off with maybe $10 or $20 dollars in my account. I know how to find a good stock and invest in it, but I don’t know if I should. I have read some of your articles and have decided to ask you for a straight answer.

Sincerely,

A Young Podcaster

Dear Podcaster,

I specialize in straight answers, so you have come to the right place. Should you invest in the stock market? Yes. Your letter gives me hope. I am glad you are learning about investing in the stock market at school, and using MarketWatch to do so, and about the value of money and having a stake in an economy that supplies jobs, services, goods and, ultimately, puts food on our tables.

It will teach you the value of risk and reward, patience and discipline, and how to weather a storm like a pandemic and a roller-coaster year for markets. Rule No. 1: Don’t panic. Rule No. 2: Don’t panic. Rule No. 3: Don’t panic. When you don’t know what action to take, and you feel fearful, it’s often better to take no action at all. That is true for investing in the stock market, and for life.

You are too young to set up an account yourself, but your mother or father can open up a custodial account on your behalf under the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) or Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA). You will be able to take control of the account when you reach 18 or 21, depending on what state you live in. Perhaps your mother, as you live with her full time, can help you with that.

TD Ameritrade, E-trade, Merrill Edge BAC, +1.31%, and Robinhood all have custodial accounts with no minimum-fee requirements, and no trading fees, inactivity fees or annual fees. Start off reading up on stocks that you know and like, and see how they are performing, what risks could push stock lower, and their growth trajectory that give an indication of how they’re likely to perform.

There are also several books out there for young investors such as yourself. “Yummi Yoghurt: A First Taste of Stock Market Investment Hardcover” (2019) by John Lee is accessible. Ditto “Go! Stock! Go!: A Stock Market Guide for Enterprising Children and their Curious Parents Paperback” (2014) by Bennett Zimmerman. They may make some good stocking fillers, if you request early.

The Moneyist:‘I lost my mom 2 months ago and I’m still in a fog’: My brother and his family moved into her home. They want more than half

Start low, go slow, and by the time you reach your teenage years and take on a part-time job, for example, you will have an appetite to grow you holdings. My colleague Philip van Doorn dishes out some encouraging math on how your investments can rise over time. “Imagine how much bigger it might be if you can increase that automatic investment over the years,” he wrote.

“Let’s pretend that you have a child who is 11 years of age, and you invest $2,500 for him or her in an index fund, along with regular investments of $100 a month (starting the first month),” he added. “Using the future value formula in Excel, with an assumed annual 10% return for the fund, after 168 months (or 14 years), when your child is 25, he or she will have $46,460.28 in the account.”

As Philip suggests, you could even ask your parents to gift you a deposit in one such custodial account for the holidays. It’s a great learning curve for your parents and you. “There’s also a need for parents to explain financial matters to children. How much do things cost? What did you have to sacrifice as a young adult to afford a home or otherwise get where you are now?”

“I realized that once a child in our electronically connected age reaches the age of 11 or 12, or thereabouts, he or she no longer has much interest in traditional toys or games, and there are limits to how many games they want for their X-Boxes, etc. There are also limits on how many electronic devices you can buy for them,” he added.

You can start by investing in stocks, products and services that you know and like, and as your investment grows and your earning potential increases, you can move to an index fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF). You may also be interested in sustainable investments in companies that aim to help the planet and/or prevent further damage to it. The world is your oyster. Your future awaits.

In 10 years time, please get in touch and let us know how you’re doing.

Quentin Fottrell is MarketWatch’s Moneyist columnist. You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at qfottrell@marketwatch.com. Want to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns here.

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