I want to retire in Texas and near freshwater on $4,000 a month — where should I go?


I want to retire to Texas. I will be moving from Maine within the next five years and would like a location that has freshwater and some national or state parks. I estimate my monthly retirement income in the range of $3,750 to $4,200. I will be buying a house and selling the one in Maine. Some of the equity will be used for college.

I would like a good hospital and airport within a one-hour drive. Live entertainment would be a plus!

What have you got for me?

Much appreciated!

Rachel

Dear Rachel,

Join the line of people heading to the Lone Star State — about 1,500 every day in 2018. There are many reasons for the state’s popularity, and you know your reasons best. Just a word of caution: Maine to Texas is quite a temperature switch, so consider investigating your possibilities during the summer. Texas is hot, hot, hot that time of year, and you don’t want to discover you hate the weather after you’ve paid for a move.

But assuming you’re good with 100-degree days, you can certainly find places that offer what you are looking for, all with different personalities. As always, some places that sound great on paper may not be as appealing in real life. I can’t stress enough the importance of treating your exploration time as if you were living there, not just visiting on vacation.

Taxes can be a big focus for retirees, and Texas appeals to many because it doesn’t have a state income tax. (Maine, by the way, won’t tax your Social Security check.) While the overall tax burden is low, sales and property taxes are on the higher side.

You say you want to use some of the money from selling your Maine house for college. If you’re the student, depending on the school you pick, you may qualify for reduced or even free tuition as a senior citizen, freeing up some of your budget.

Speaking of budget, be honest about what you’ll be spending more on, not just how you’ll be cutting some costs by leaving Maine. The last thing any of us wants in retirement is to be unnecessarily squeezed.

Read:There is more to picking a place to retire than low taxes — avoid these 5 expensive mistakes

Also:Health care will cost this much in retirement — but probably even more

Ready to look? Here are three options that give you a lake nearby:

Gruene Hall in New Braunfels is the oldest dance hall in Texas.


Jim Flynn/Courtesy New Braunfels CVB

Texas Hill Country

This is the area between Austin and San Antonio and includes plenty of state parks. If the sale of your home in Maine means you’ve got the money to afford a lake house, why not consider Canyon Lake in what’s dubbed the Hill Country Coast? More than 20% of the 21,000 residents there are 65 and older. The drawback is you’ll have a longer drive to college classes, airports and hospitals.

If it’s city living you want, look at New Braunfels, 30 minutes away on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers, home to 90,000 people and with easy interstate access to both Austin and San Antonio. (The name is a hint that the town was founded by German immigrants.)

Live entertainment? Among other choices, you’d have Gruene Hall, Texas’s oldest dance hall and a spot for live music every day. And in how many other places can you still find a drive-in movie theater?

You can take classes at Texas State University in San Marcos, 20 minutes by car from New Braunfels. Texas State has 38,000 students and will let you earn up to six credits per semester for free if you are at least 65 years old. (You can audit classes at no cost, too, without a limit on credit hours.)

Other options are the University of Texas at San Antonio, less than an hour’s drive from either New Braunfels or Canyon Lake, and the University of Texas at Austin, less than an hour from New Braunfels. These two big schools also offerauditing options.

While New Braunfels has a hospital, you could also go to San Antonio or Austin for care.

To get a sense of the housing your money can buy, here’s what’s on the market now in Canyon Lake and New Braunfels, using listings from Realtor.com (which, like MarketWatch, is owned by News Corp).

Conroe

This fast-growing city of nearly 90,000 is 40 miles north of Houston and abuts Lake Conroe, a 33-square-mile lake, and is close to Sam Houston National Forest. With Lone Star College nearby, you can claim that same fee waiver for six credit hours per semester. Texas A&M is 65 miles away in College Station.

Locals say Conroe still has a small-town feel, but its status as the seat of Montgomery County means it also has a bustling, historic downtown. You’ll find antique stores and craft brewers there, too. And, while you can live in a neighborhood, you could also opt to find a home with more land.

Here’s what’s on the market now.

For entertainment, you don’t need to go all the way to Houston. If the historic Crighton Theatre doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can head to the Woodlands, a planned community in the southern end of the county with an amphitheater that draws big names. While this community of 100,000-plus has an upscale reputation (and upscale shopping in its downtown), there are some homes at lower price points. It’s also more densely populated than Conroe, if that’s more your style.

You play an instrument? Check out the local symphony orchestra, a mix of professionals and amateurs. If you like to golf, you’ll have plenty of choices. The Chamber of Commerce counts more than 20 public and private courses in the county. Conroe isn’t a retiree haven, although it does attract plenty of snowbirds. About 13% of the city and county population is 65 and older, less than the U.S. average.

Obviously there are plenty of amenities in Houston, including an international airport and big-name hospitals. And if Conroe or the Woodlands isn’t for you, you’re likely to find something in the wider Houston metro area.

A mural outside Andy’s Bar, one of dozens of murals painted on buildings in Denton, Texas.


Victoria DeCuir/ Courtesy Denton Public Library

Denton

You have plenty of options in the Dallas–Fort Worth area, as well. But look at rapidly growing Denton. The appeal of this city and its 140,000 residents includes the University of North Texas (39,000 students) and Texas Woman’s University (coed and another 13,000 students), both with the ability to take classes for free at age 65, as well as a lively downtown and music scene (the free Denton Arts and Jazz Festival attracts hundreds of thousands every year). And, yes, living here offers access to top-quality hospitals.

Some like to make comparisons to Austin of a few decades back, with one DFW resident saying downtown Denton has a “hippie dippy college-town vibe.” Outside of downtown, however, the feeling is much more suburban.

Denton also stands out among neighboring cities that were just farms a few decades back and are now planned communities, in that it has some older housing stock. You still find Texas horse country and small towns to the north and west. However, empty land is rapidly filling up, and it’s only a matter of time until the DFW megapolis fills the I-35 corridor up to the Oklahoma state line.

As for fresh water, you’d be close to Ray Roberts Lake State Park and a nearly 46-square-mile lake.

A walking and biking trail, the 19-mile A-train Rail Trail connects Denton to similarly sized Lake Lewisville. The trail in part parallels the A-train that connects to Dallas County’s rail network, getting you to downtown Dallas and beyond. If you’re driving, it’s about 30 miles to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and 36 miles to Dallas Love Field.

To get a sense of the housing market, here’s what’s on the market now.

Now read:I’m 52, won’t live past 80 and have $1.6 million. ‘I am tired of both the rat race and workplace politics.’ Should I retire?

Readers: What’s your advice for Rachel?



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This eye-opening experience has me rethinking how Social Security figures into my retirement planning


Our family’s goal was to achieve financial independence assuming we will have no Social Security benefits. Our full retirement ages are over two decades away, and cuts to the program seem likely. We decided to consider any benefits we may receive as a bonus and haven’t paid much attention to Social Security.

I recently shared that I’ve been helping my parents with their finances as they transition into retirement. Seeing how valuable their Social Security payment is has been eye-opening.

With a paid-off home and cars and a low
tax-burden in retirement
, they live a comfortable lifestyle with
most of their expenses covered by their Social Security benefits and a very
small pension. 

They need little money
from their investment portfolio. This means they could have saved substantially
less and retired sooner or spent substantially more on the way to retirement.

Seeing this made me
realize that ignoring Social Security can be an expensive mistake. So I sought
out to answer three questions:

  1. What are our Social
    Security benefits as things stand today? 

  2. What impact does
    retiring early have on future Social Security benefits? 

  3. How should we
    incorporate uncertain future Social Security benefits into our financial
    projections?

How you accumulate Social Security benefits

Social
Security calculates your benefit based on the average of your highest 35 years
of earnings. You must have at least 10 years of earnings to qualify for Social
Security retirement benefits.

To better understand how you accumulate Social Security benefits
and how retiring early impacts your benefits, it is important to understand the
terms AIME, PIA, and bend points.

AIME
are your average indexed monthly earnings. Social Security adjusts your income
for inflation that occurs over your working lifetime.

For example, my first year of having taxed Social Security earnings was 1995. The $2,920 of income I earned cutting grass and making pizzas is currently worth over double that amount, $6,163, in 2020 dollars.

You can find the inflation adjustment
multipliers by year
 on the Social Security website.

PIA is your primary insurance amount and is calculated based on your AIME over your highest-earning 35 years.

The next important concept to understand is applying bend points to
determine your retirement benefits
. The concept of bend points
is analogous to our
progressive income tax system
. It is designed to benefit lower
earners more and be progressively less beneficial to higher earners.

Up to the first bend point — $960 in 2020 — your income is replaced at 90% of your AIME. If your AIME is exactly $960, you will qualify for a monthly benefit of $864 at your full retirement age.

AIME above the first bend point up to the second bend point — $5,785 in 2020 — is replaced at only 32%. For example, someone with a PIA of $1,960 would receive $1,184.

Above
the second bend point up to the maximal amount, income is replaced at only 15%.

The impact of early retirement

Retiring before
accumulating 35 years of taxable earnings means having years of zero (or very
low) taxed earnings factored into your average earnings. This will lower your
AIME and PIA.

How much you value these
benefits is an individual decision that depends on what other assets you have
to support you in retirement. How much confidence you have in the Social
Security system remaining viable by the time you are eligible for benefits may
also impact your decision.

In any case, it is worth
knowing where you stand with regards to accumulating Social Security benefits.
Then you can make an educated decision.

The difference between retiring early and claiming benefits early

It
is important to make a distinction between retiring early and claiming Social
Security benefits early.

Let’s focus on retiring early, meaning to stop earning or drastically reduce your taxable wages. This will impact the Social Security benefit you accumulate over your working lifetime if you have not yet accumulated 35 years of earnings. It will also impact you if you have accumulated 35 years of earnings and if the earnings you are forgoing later in life would be greater than the earnings you have already accumulated. Either scenario will decrease the average earnings compared to your potential top 35 years of earnings.

Claiming
Social Security benefits prior to your full retirement age is an entirely
separate decision. Full retirement age is currently between 66 and 67 years of
age depending on your date of birth.

You may claim Social
Security retirement benefits as early as age 62. This will reduce your monthly
retirement benefit. Conversely, you can delay receiving benefits beyond your
full retirement age. In this scenario, you will claim a larger monthly benefit
when you do begin. 

Projecting your Social Security benefits

You can obtain your estimated Social Security benefit by setting up an online account
with “my Social Security
.” You can then access your earnings
records and estimated benefits on their website.

When calculating your estimated benefits, Social Security assumes you will continue to work until your full retirement age. It projects future benefits based upon your earnings from the two most recent years. Therefore, the benefits you eventually receive may be more or less than the projections depending on your actual future earnings.

Placing too much faith
in your projected earnings probably isn’t wise. This is particularly true the
further out you are from claiming benefits. Still, I’ve realized being ignorant
and ignoring benefits you’ve earned isn’t a valid strategy either. 

Adjusting Social Security benefits for future rarnings

On the “my Social Security” website, you can use the Retirement Calculator to experiment with the impact of different levels of ongoing income on your Social Security retirement benefits.

My estimated benefit at full retirement age is $1,869 a month based on my 25 years of earnings between 1995 and 2019. Over the last two years, I’ve had very little income taxable by Social Security, totaling less than $6,000.

I first changed the
calculator to assume future earnings to be $0. This had almost no effect on my
estimated benefit, lowering it to $1,852 a month. 

Entering $90,000 for
future earnings raised my estimated benefit by almost $1,000 a month at full
retirement age to $2,737. At first glance, this seems like a fair amount of
money to leave on the table by retiring early. 

However, obtaining this
level of benefit would require working full-time 19 more years. That would give
me 10 more years to complete 35 years of earnings, plus replace the eight years
on my earnings record when in college and early retirement when income was less
than $10,000 a year, plus my first year of work as a physical therapist when I
made only $22,500 working half a year. 

Next, I looked at the impact of working part-time in
semi-retirement. I’ve recently written about how friendly
the tax code is for semi-retirees who earn small amounts of income after
leaving their careers
. What is the impact of part-time work on
Social Security benefits?

If
I made just $1,000 a month ($12,000 a year) in semi-retirement, my benefit at
full retirement age would jump by over $100 a month from $1,869 to $1,981 a
month. Making $2,000 per month ($24,000 a year) would increase my benefit to
$2,144 a month.

Determining your inflation-adjusted benefits

One piece of information
that is not clear from the Social Security site is where your PIA is relative
to the bend points. This information is important to determine how impactful
working longer would be on your future Social Security benefits.

You can determine the relationship between your AIME and the bend
points by multiplying your Taxed Social Security Earnings found in your
Earnings Record by the inflation
adjustment multiplier for each year

An easier way to do this is to enter your earnings record for each
year into the Physician
on FIRE Social Security calculator
. It provides information that
is hard to decipher directly from the “my Social Security” website, including
the sum of your top 35 years of indexed earnings, your AIME, and whether you’ve
reached the first and second bend points.

The value of Social Security benefits

Previously, we underestimated how valuable Social Security
benefits could be. We have no way of knowing how the program will
change in the future. So we just threw up our hands and ignored what Social
Security benefits will mean for us.

My wife Kim and I currently have similar earnings records. If we each get our benefits as projected, we would receive nearly $4,000 a month at our full retirement age. That would more or less cover our current living expenses. 

Our Social Security
benefit is valuable, even if future benefits are substantially reduced. The
program is popular enough that it’s unlikely to ever completely go away. We won’t
ignore it in retirement calculations going forward.

However, it is also widely known that Social
Security is underfunded
.

Moving forward, we’ll pay a bit more attention to our benefits,
checking them annually. When running
retirement simulations
, we’ll run multiple scenarios with
25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of our currently projected benefits. 

The 25% and 100% scenarios will represent our best guess at absolute worst and best-case scenarios. The 50% and 75% scenarios represent our best guess on the likely range of values of our future Social Security benefits based on our knowledge of it today.

More on Social Security: Should we rethink how we tax Social Security benefits?

Also: Brett Arends: The assault on Social Security is under way

Chris Mamula retired from a career as a physical therapist at age 41. This is abridged from “How Does Retiring Early Impact Social Security Benefits?” You can read the full version on the blog “Can I Retire Yet?

Also from Chris Mamula: I followed the path to FIRE — and learned that early retirement is the wrong goal



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‘My brother was my best friend’: He moved into my late father’s home, changed the locks and blew through his money. Should I pursue criminal charges?


I am one of four children and my father died naming my brother the executor of his will.

My father died with no debt, and a home that was mortgage free in the best neighborhood. He had worked for the same company for over 45 years with a pension and savings throughout his life.

My brother and his wife moved into dad’s home even though they own their own home. They changed the locks, and hired an alarm company so no one could enter the property. They also refused to give anyone a copy of the will until after he presented it to the court, so they claimed.

They began blowing through my dad’s money (using his accounts, credit cards that were in dad’s name only) and refused to present and perform the duties of executor. My brother and his wife were in serious financial debt prior to dad’s death. When I confronted my brother, he blocked me on social media, and has refused to talk to me ever since.

The Moneyist:‘A man cave on wheels’: My husband’s RV is his pride and joy — but he owes $75,000 on it. If he dies, am I liable?

My brother was my best friend. His actions have destroyed me to the core. During all of these events, he and his wife divorced. She initiated the divorce when the money ran low. She filed for bankruptcy while still spending and taking exotic trips, which she posted all over Facebook.

I sent my brother money throughout this time to help with divorce costs, and begged him to show up at her bankruptcy hearing and acknowledge that they committed fraud. He still refused to speak to me.

I am so hurt by this whole situation. My dad, a hard working Vietnam vet, lies in an unmarked grave, which is ridiculous because he had a substantial amount of money, including funds from a $25,000 insurance policy from my grandfather.

I feel cheated and used. I don’t even have a picture of my parents. I need closure and I want to pursue criminal charges against my brother and my former sister-in-law through the state attorney general’s office.

I’ve spoken to several lawyers in this small town, and everyone says, “Let it go, your brother is a good guy.” Meanwhile, I’m supposed to suffer in silence with no relief. I tried and I can’t. I wake up daily crying from it all.

I have no relationship with my sisters. One sister stole my identity in the past, causing me great distress and financially ruining me. My brother knew this, so his actions hurt that much more.

Ready to Take Action

Dear Ready to Take Action,

It seems that you want justice for your father and peace of mind for yourself. Those two things can be mutually exclusive. You can have one without the other. If you do not succeed in prosecuting your brother for breaking his fiduciary duty as the executor, it does not mean that you can’t move on.

Not everyone is willing or able to take responsibility for their actions, and that’s OK. Your biggest responsibility is to yourself. Whatever happens with your father’s home and what’s left of his estate, and whatever becomes of your brother, you want to be free. That is your ultimate goal.

There is a statute of limitations on wills, and the clock usually starts ticking after the will has been filed with the probate court. Of course, we don’t know for sure if your father’s will was filed with the probate court and, if there was no will, his estate would still need to go through probate.

The statute also varies by state. There are different deadlines for trusts and wills that apply to different claims, and those statues can change depending on circumstances, according to Albertson & Davidson, a law firm in El Segundo, Calif.

“You must contest a will before it is admitted to probate,” the law firm states. “If a will is admitted to probate, then you have 120 days in which to ask the court to revoke probate. After that time frame, the will cannot be challenged.” It is not clear whether your father’s will was filed.

“Probate is a court process by which the court first determines if a will is valid, then appoints an executor to administer the will in a court-supervised process. When a court issues an order declaring the will is valid, we call this ‘admitting the will to probate,’” the firm adds.

The Moneyist: My father left me money for a house — and my husband put his name on the deed. How do I ensure it goes to our kids?

There is possible good news for your case: “If you want to sue a trustee for breach of trust, then you have three years to do so from the date you knew, or should have known, of the facts giving rise to the breach,” according to Albertson & Davidson.

But if you are never given an accounting or a report, there is no statute for fraud. “If you did not know what the trustee did, and the trustee never gave you an accounting or written report disclosing his actions, then your deadline to sue remains open indefinitely,” it says.

“Obviously, you should not wait forever to take action against your trustee,” the law firm says. “At some point in time, it will become difficult, if not impossible, to hold your trustee liable for harms if you do not take action.” You need to find a reputable law firm in your town or state.

Like I said, the deadline on taking action differs from state to state, but this gives you an idea of what you’re facing. Failing that, you may wish to make peace with the fact that your brother cannot be the brother you want him to be, nor can he be the son your father thought he was.

In the meantime, the Department of Veteran Affairs will provide, at no charge, a headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world. You can say goodbye to your father, and thank him for the life he gave you.

But your happiness cannot and should not depend on the outcome of this case or the resolution of the broken relationship with your brother. Your father gave you the tools during your lifetime to seek the kind of life you want for yourself, independent of the misdeeds of others.

This is the most important goal for you to pursue.

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

Don’t miss:‘We will not have a vaccine by next winter.’ Like the 1918 Spanish flu, CDC says second wave of coronavirus could be worse. So what happens now?

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group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

Coronavirus update

As of Saturday, COVID-19 had infected 26,623,562 people worldwide, which mostly does not account for asymptomatic cases, and killed 874,717. The U.S. still has the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases (6,200,518), followed by Brazil (4,091,801), India (4,023,179) and Russia (1,011,987), according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

In the meantime, cases keep rising in the U.S. with California becoming the first state in the country to surpass 700,000 confirmed cases; infections hit 730,662 there as of Saturday with 13,638 COVID-related deaths. New York has recorded 437,971 infections and the highest number of deaths in the U.S. (32,982). COVID has killed 187,755 people in the U.S.

AstraZeneca
AZN,
-1.07%

, in combination with Oxford University; BioNTech SE
BNTX,
-1.19%

and partner Pfizer
PFE,
-0.11%

; GlaxoSmithKline
GSK,
-1.38%

; Johnson & Johnson
JNJ,
-0.64%

; Merck & Co.
MERK,
-0.95%

; Moderna
MRNA,
-3.45%

; and Sanofi
SAN,
+5.09%

are among those currently working toward COVID-19 vaccines.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index
DJIA,
-0.56%
,
the S&P 500
SPX,
-0.81%

and the Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-1.26%

ended lower Friday. Doubts about traction for further fiscal stimulus from Washington may be one factor discouraging investors who have been betting on Republicans and Democrats striking a deal to offer additional relief to consumers and businesses.





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‘A man cave on wheels’: My husband’s RV is his pride and joy — but he owes $75,000 on it. If he dies, am I liable?


My husband and I have been married for almost eight years. Prior to marriage we had a prenuptial agreement made, where his RV and truck remained his to do whatever with, as my home and car remained mine.

His RV is his pride and joy, and his “man cave” on wheels. I recently learned that his RV is “upside down.” He owes $75,000 more on it than it’s worth. My concern is that if something happens to him, I will end up with a lien on my home.

My name is not on the RV, nor is his name on my home. Your help and thoughts are very much appreciated. Thank you.

Mary Ellen

The Moneyist: ‘I’m astounded that I have NOT received my payment’: When will I receive my stimulus check?

Dear Mary Ellen,

That was a clear prenuptial agreement. What’s yours is yours and what’s his is his, and anything you earn during your marriage is, I presume, shared. More or less. It sounds like you want to commingle your lives, but not your finances. Boys love their toys and he clearly takes great pride in his man cave on wheels, and it was and is important to him that it’s his, and his alone. That’s good news for you: You are not liable for this debt, if his name alone is on the loan.

In community-property states — Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin — debt incurred during a marriage is deemed “community” responsibility. That is, both spouses are liable for that debt. In Alaska, newlyweds can choose to opt into community property rules. In other common-law states, spouses can incur debt on credit cards and RV loans during their marriage, and they are solely responsible for them.

The Moneyist: My mother’s will says her boyfriend can live in her home after she dies. Can I still kick him out if the deed is transferred to me?

There is one major exception to these rules, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. You are liable for medical debts of your spouse under a legal theory called the Doctrine of Necessities. “The necessities rule is not limited to medical bills. It could apply to utilities, rent, food, clothing and any other necessities, but the most common lawsuit utilizing this legal concept is in the collection of medical debts,” it says. (At least two states, Virginia and Alabama, challenged this.)

“In Nebraska, when you marry someone you also marry their future medical debts. If your spouse incurs medical debts during the marriage, you are liable for the debt. Even if the bills only come in the name of your spouse. Even if you did not sign for the debts. Even if you did not authorize the treatment. Even if you are separated. In Nebraska, when you marry someone you also marry their future medical debts. This doctrine has been accepted in Nebraska courts,” the institute adds.

The Moneyist:My husband and I are worth $3.7 million, but I’m afraid I’ll spend my way into the poor house if he dies. When I was single, I bounced checks. What can I do?

This does not, however, account for the indirect costs of a spouse incurring debts. You started your marriage with your eyes open, so you should continue in that spirit. Organize a monthly budget so you know where your red lines are on spending, and how much you need to earn to keep the books balanced, and put money aside for an emergency fund. You may also want to see if your husband can cut back on his spending to pay off his RV debt sooner rather than later. You’re a team.

Worst-case scenario: If your husband cannot pay off the debt owed on his RV, it would obviously be repossessed by the company. If you or he lost his job, on the other hand, presumably the other spouse would shoulder the burden and help the other out. If he asks you to help out with the payments on his RV? That’s another question entirely. Hopefully, that won’t happen, Mary Ellen, and you and your husband will have a long and happy life together, and a few memorable trips in his RV.

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com

Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check outthe Moneyist private Facebook
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group where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

As of Saturday, COVID-19 had infected 26,623,562 people worldwide, which mostly does not account for asymptomatic cases, and killed 874,717. The U.S. still has the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases (6,200,518), followed by Brazil (4,091,801), India (4,023,179) and Russia (1,011,987), according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

In the meantime, cases keep rising in the U.S. with California becoming the first state in the country to surpass 700,000 confirmed cases; infections hit 730,662 there as of Saturday with 13,638 COVID-related deaths. New York has recorded 437,971 infections and the highest number of deaths in the U.S. (32,982). COVID has killed 187,755 people in the U.S.

AstraZeneca
AZN,
-1.07%

, in combination with Oxford University; BioNTech SE
BNTX,
-1.19%

and partner Pfizer
PFE,
-0.11%

; GlaxoSmithKline
GSK,
-1.38%

; Johnson & Johnson
JNJ,
-0.64%

; Merck & Co.
MERK,
-0.95%

; Moderna
MRNA,
-3.45%

; and Sanofi
SAN,
+5.09%

are among those currently working toward COVID-19 vaccines.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index
DJIA,
-0.56%
,
the S&P 500
SPX,
-0.81%

and the Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-1.26%

ended lower Friday. Doubts about traction for further fiscal stimulus from Washington may be one factor discouraging investors who have been betting on Republicans and Democrats striking a deal to offer additional relief to consumers and businesses.



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How to celebrate Labor Day safely and why gaps in the CDC’s eviction ban could leave some renters homeless


Have a good start to the Labor Day Weekend, MarketWatchers! Don’t miss these top stories:

Celebrate Labor Day safely: Keep the socializing outside and don’t touch anyone

Don’t let the coronavirus crash your holiday barbecue

Think twice before wearing a face shield to protect against COVID-19 instead of a cloth face mask — here’s why

Teachers and students are returning to schools and colleges — sometimes wearing face shields in lieu of masks.

Gaps in the CDC’s eviction ban could leave some renters homeless, housing advocates say

Ambiguity in the wording of the national eviction moratorium means that some Americans could still lose their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

My husband wants 50% of my mother’s inheritance because he earns more than me. I said no. Am I unreasonable?

I said I was willing to get a money manager and set up a retirement account in both of our names. I’ve always worked, even while raising our daughter.

My father left me money for a house — and my husband put his name on the deed. How do I ensure it goes to our kids?

‘When his mother passed away, he received an inheritance of $8,000. I was never told about this money, and he spent all of it.’

Asymptomatic children who contract COVID-19 may ‘shed’ coronavirus for weeks

New insights into coronavirus transmission among children shed light on the pandemic at an important time for families, communities and public-health officials.

‘A man cave on wheels’: My husband’s RV is his pride and joy — but he owes $75,000 on it. If he dies, am I liable?

‘My concern is that, if something happens to him, I will end up with a lien on my home.’

‘We can’t let our guard down’: Scientists say some children could spread COVID-19 even if they have antibodies

‘With most viruses, when you start to detect antibodies, you won’t detect the virus anymore. But with COVID-19, we’re seeing both.’

‘My brother was my best friend’: He moved into my late father’s home, changed the locks and blew through his money. Should I pursue criminal charges?

‘He and his wife were in serious financial debt prior to dad’s death. When I confronted my brother he blocked me on social media, and has refused to talk to me ever since.’

Having thoughts of suicide during the pandemic? Here’s how to cope and get help

‘Some of the biggest risk factors for suicide are now part of daily life.’

Elsewhere on MarketWatch
Fed’s Powell says jobs report was ‘a good one,’ signals low interest rates could last for years

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Friday’s report showing 1.4 million Americans found or resumed work in August was good news, but the economy likely will require low interest rates for years.

Biden blasts Trump over alleged comments on troops and says president has ‘botched’ virus response

A visibly angry Joe Biden on Friday blasted President Donald Trump over comments he reportedly made about U.S. military members, and said the economy is being held back by Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic.

Another coronavirus aid package is probably ‘not happening’ after August jobs report and deal to avoid government shutdown, analyst says

Friday’s jobs report makes it more likely that Washington won’t deliver another big coronavirus aid package, according to some analysts. An agreement to avoid a federal government shutdown also may hurt the chances for a deal on aid.

The August jobs report is a lot better than it looks. Here’s why (and why it may not last)

The biggest and undoubtedly best news in U.S. jobs report for August was a huge increase in the number of people who said they went back to work.

The only path to a sharply higher stock market ‘is a bubble like the late 1920s and 1990s,’ says analyst who called rally off March lows

A popular stock-market valuation measure is nearing the same level it hit just before the final two years of the most powerful bull markets of the 20th century — if it breaks out again, prepare for the building, and the eventual bursting, of another bubble, warns a Wall Street veteran who called the market’s rally off the March low.

Why ‘Sell in May and go away’ was money-losing advice for stock investors in 2020

This seasonal market-timing pattern makes sense in just one year out of four, writes Mark Hulbert.

This 50-year-old Vanguard mutual fund is holding its own against younger rivals

Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund shows how a blended stock/bond portfolio can make investors money.

Today’s older workers may see the first cuts to Social Security benefits

The Congressional Budget Office released an updated budget outlook, including the pandemic’s impact on the economy.

Tech bloodbath aside, ride these two giants for the second half of the recovery, veteran analyst says

Never mind the carnage. One analyst says the second phase of the economic rebound, during the second half of this year and into 2021, will “supercharge” the fundamentals and growth trajectories of well positioned tech stocks

Just $5 and an iPhone can open the door to investing in the world’s rarest fine wines

Rally’s wine offerings will have a combined value of $148,000 and include a ’05 Chateau Latour and 2016 Chateau Petrus

Stock-market rout: Why it’s too early to call tech plunge the start of a correction

Tech and other high-flying stock market sectors got hammered Thursday, but the move was so overdue it’s hard to declare it the start of a prolonged correction, investors and analysts say.

The stock market is peaking — these are the 26 stocks to own through the downturn

Investors have pushed stock up too indiscriminately and exuberantly.



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