Viewpoints: 5 things to think about this week

Markets and COVID 1-year anniversary, the stimulus bill, gold, munis and protecting yourself against identity theft.


WEEKLY EDITION: March 18, 2021

Markets: 1-year COVID anniversary

The extraordinary levels of support provided by the government and the Fed have raised inflation expectations—and that may have long-term implications for investors. Already the correlation between stock and bond returns is less negative than it was previously, and it could even flip positive if yields rise further. If that happens, it could shift the way people build portfolios.

A good time for gold?

With inflation concerns rising, some investors think it may be time for gold to shine—it's often used as a hedge against price increases in the economy. The price of gold has been flat recently but rising demand for inflation hedges could make it glitter again. You don't have to buy gold bars to benefit—mining companies offer another way to invest in gold.

Taxable munis: An under-the-radar opportunity

Not all municipal bonds are tax-exempt. Meet the taxable muni bond. Relative to other taxable bonds, taxable munis have a slight edge in terms of price, default risk, and sensitivity to interest rate changes. And even though interest payments aren't exempt from federal income tax, they may be exempt from state and local taxes, potentially raising after-tax yields compared with corporate bonds.

Protect yourself against identity theft

Do your best to avoid identity theft: Ignore emails that seem too good to be true and don't click links or attachments in unexpected emails. Protect your accounts with strong, unique passwords and sign up for 2-factor authentication when available. It's also important to secure your phone and other electronic devices by running antivirus software and installing updates as soon as possible.

Stimulus: How to get your due

Your adjusted gross income (AGI) is the key to qualifying for help from the new stimulus plan. Limiting eligibility by AGI makes sense because the people who need help the most should get priority. But there are strategies that could help lower your AGI and increase your stimulus eligibility, including deductions, opportunities to defer income, and qualified charitable distributions.


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