The Trump administration wants to discourage your 401(k) from including ESG investment options


Two proposed rulemakings from the Labor Department in the past eight weeks would largely gut sustainable investing options and strategies in retirement plans. These proposals would reverse the Labor Department’s 2015 and 2016 guidance while ignoring the growing consensus among academics, retirement plan fiduciaries and professional money managers that responsible companies are likely to outperform over the long haul.

The first measure, “Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments,” now in the late stages of the approval process, would discourage 401(k) and other qualified retirement plans from offering funds from managers that consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in their due diligence.

The proposal establishes burdensome requirements for analysis and documentation around inclusion of ESG options. The Labor Department currently has no such requirements for any other kinds of funds.

Support for the measure has been decidedly underwhelming. A group of investor organizations and financial firms analyzed the more than 8,700 public comments on the proposed rule and found that only 4% of comments expressed support. Some 95% of the comments — across individuals, investment-related groups and non-investment-related groups — were strongly opposed, and 1% expressed neutral views or didn’t clearly express support or opposition.

The 30-day public comment period ended on July 30 and the Labor Department is likely to implement the proposal before the end of the year.

The second proposal, “Fiduciary Duties Regarding Proxy Voting and Shareholder Rights,” which was announced at the end of August, would restrict the ability of retirement plans to hold company leadership accountable through proxy voting. It alleges that proxy measures are onerous for public companies.

A fundamental misunderstanding

The reasoning betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how financial professionals consider ESG criteria in their investments and how proxy voting practices enhance long-term value of investments. Because of inconsistent corporate disclosure rules, investors often file proxy proposals to receive relevant ESG information.

Both proposals represent a solution in search of a problem. They imply that investment managers and plan fiduciaries promote social goals over sound investment analysis, but proponents fail to cite a single instance that this has happened or any related enforcement actions they have taken.

Moreover, the agency doesn’t acknowledge any of the dozens of studies that demonstrate that consideration of ESG issues may lead to better investment outcomes. Morningstar found that during the stock collapse in the first quarter of 2020, all but two of 26 ESG indexes suffered fewer losses than their conventional counterparts. Studies of longer periods from Morgan Stanley and MSCI have found no financial trade-off in the returns delivered by ESG funds relative to traditional funds. Additionally, a 2018 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that 88% of the academic studies it reviewed found a neutral or positive relationship between the use of ESG information and financial performance.

Setting aside the academic debates over ESG, the market has already spoken. As of 2018, more than one of every four dollars under professional management was invested using ESG criteria, according to the US SIF Foundation’s 2018 Report on U.S. Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends. Morningstar has reported that in 2020, flows into sustainable funds outpaced traditional funds.

Read:Sustainable-investing flows have smashed records in 2020. What’s going on?

Far from making a concession to ESG, professional money managers increasingly analyze ESG factors precisely because of risk, return and fiduciary considerations. They know that bad policies and practices can harm companies’ reputations, affect consumers and lead to stock-price declines. Climate change is widely recognized as an environmental and financial risk for companies. Similarly, companies that fail to promote racial equity face real and meaningful challenges.

Investors are coming to recognize that companies with better policies and practices and more robust corporate governance will outperform over the long term. A 2018 US SIF Foundation survey of U.S. sustainable investment money managers with aggregated assets of more than $4 trillion found that three-quarters of the respondents employ ESG criteria to improve returns and minimize risk over time, and 58% cited their fiduciary duty as a motivation.


In 2020, flows into sustainable funds outpaced those into traditional funds.

The Labor Department’s proposals would largely supplant an existing regulatory regime that was already working. In 2015 and 2016, President Obama’s Labor Department carefully considered these issues and issued Interpretive Bulletins clarifying that fiduciaries of ERISA-governed retirement plans “do not need to treat commercially reasonable investments as inherently suspect or in need of special scrutiny merely because they take into consideration environmental, social, or other such factors.” The second Interpretive Bulletin recognized that shareholder rights, including voting proxies, are important to long-term shareholder value and consistent with fiduciary duty.

These new proposals are not taking place in a vacuum. They are part of the Trump administration’s broader effort to generate barriers to investment practices that have a focus on environmental, social or governance issues. The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently seeking to create its own barriers on this topic, including the role of proxy voting firms, fund names and shareholder rights.

By tipping the scales against consideration of ESG criteria when selecting investments and against the use of proxies to encourage better governance and better disclosure, the Labor Department proposals prevent plan sponsors from fulfilling their fiduciary obligation. It should retain current practices related to the utilization of ESG criteria and proxy voting.

Lisa Woll is CEO of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. Follow her @LisaWoll_USSIF. Judy Mares is former deputy assistant secretary in the Labor Department.





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Virology experts say the key is keeping Spain’s hospitals from becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19 this time


MADRID — Just days away from the start of a new school year, Spain’s capital city rolled out fresh restrictions on Monday to cope with what’s becoming a relentless second wave of cases.

But those measures — strict controls on the distance between seats rather than tables in food-service settings, reducing funeral attendance to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors, and 10-person limits on social gatherings — seem modest as the country’s total infections close in on 500,000, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins. Official numbers indicate that threshold has already been reached. Spain’s is the highest infection total in Europe, though it pales against the 6 million–plus cases in the U.S., which has seven times Spain’s population.

Madrid’s new measures are cold comfort to parents, including this journalist, who will be sending at least one child to all-in-person classes of 21 children. More than 2,000 of 66,000 Madrid teachers recently tested positive for COVID-19 and will have to be retested. Elsewhere in the country, two schools have already had to close due to infections.

At the heart of the resurgence of Spain’s cases has been a rush to return to normal. Spain’s experience has also been impacted by government desperation to get the tourism industry and bars back in operation; overly relaxed family gatherings; insufficient safety protocols for field workers; and the behavior of idle youth with effectively nothing to do but party, and spread the virus.

Much as New York did, Spain climbed out of the depths of COVID-19 infections with the strictest measures possible, but Spain fell right back two months later. How the country pulls itself out this time may be a blueprint for other countries and municipalities to follow. MarketWatch spoke to these experts via email in hope of shedding light on where Spain stands now and what should be done.

Juan Jesús Gestal Otero, professor emeritus of preventative medicine and public health at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, was one of 20 experts who signed a letter in the British medical journal the Lancet asking for an independent review of Spain’s COVID-19 response.

MarketWatch: What key mistakes did Spain make after the lockdown in the spring, and what must it do now to fix the situation?

Otero: It took a long time to get contact tracing up and running. It should have started when the case curve began to decline. It would have helped to have the disease more controlled at the end of the de-escalation. Each autonomous community set up its own tracking system, many of them insufficiently staffed.

MarketWatch: Will Madrid’s new measures, such as cutting capacity at bars and restaurants, really help get the disease under control?


Johns Hopkins

Otero: I don’t think those measures help much to contain outbreaks. … To have the disease under control, the most important thing at this time is to strengthen the tracking capacity of the national health system. If this is not done soon, the continued increase in outbreaks can eventually overwhelm the tracking capacity of the system and lead to a loss of control and aggravate the situation. National coordination is also very important.

Don’t miss:To defeat COVID-19, ‘we need a unified national strategy,’ says public health expert Dr. Howard Koh

MarketWatch: What are the differences between now and March that are encouraging and discouraging?

Otero: Now there is epidemiological surveillance capacity, although it needs much improvement, for the early diagnosis of cases and contact tracing, and there is the capacity to perform many tests, which allows for detection of a large number of asymptomatic patients. Most of the current cases are young people in whom the disease is less severe, unlike in March-April, and the health system is not under pressure. It is discouraging to observe how certain social groups, mostly young people, are encouraging outbreaks with their behaviors.

MarketWatch: What should other countries learn from Spain?

Otero: Strongly strengthen the epidemiological surveillance system. As soon as possible, start tracking the contacts of the cases and carry out many, many tests, to locate the largest possible number of asymptomatic patients. Make the return to the “new normal” very carefully to avoid new outbreaks. Do not authorize activities that are incompatible with a respiratory pandemic, such as those that involve spending time in closed, poorly ventilated places with many people, parties, nightlife activities. … Raising awareness of the need to take protective measures in homes when they receive visitors, receive them in well-covered rooms, avoid family parties … as it is in homes where the greatest number of infections occurs.

Dr. Vicente Soriano is the director of the UNIR Medical Center in Madrid and a clinician and professor of infectious diseases at the UNIR Health Sciences School and Medical Center.

MarketWatch: What do you think of Madrid’s new measures to try to contain the virus?

Soriano: The confluence of crowding, the return to working activities for many, and easier access to testing — as compared with negligible in March — largely accounts for the new surge in cases. It will go up for the next couple of weeks. Despite, to date, that many new PCR+ diagnoses have been found in young and asymptomatic people, this second wave will soon expand to the whole population, including again the most vulnerable populations. Indeed, although so far the situation at most large Madrid hospitals has not collapsed, it reminds us slightly of what happened in February, when overwhelming began to occur.

MarketWatch: What about contact tracing and other efforts?

Soriano: The advent of rapid antigen tests will be helpful, although there is room for further improvement, testing saliva (instead of nasopharynx fluid), selling in pharmacies, and allowing for self-testing at home, like pregnancy tests, as many times as convenient.

MarketWatch: What else needs to be done?

Soriano: Regional governments need to work further on three areas: (1.) increase the role of primary-care physicians as a first barrier to assess nonseriously ill patients and manage them with the help of telemedicine, avoiding the collapse of hospital emergency departments; (2.) medicalization and ensure enough health-care workers and protective equipment for nursing homes for the elderly and other institutionalized patients — these places accounted for more than 60% of the death toll during the first COVID-19 tsunami wave in Spain; (3.) ensure stocks of diagnostic tests, protective equipment and enough doctors and nurses in clinics and hospitals for confronting the new COVID-19 surge. Acting upfront is always preferable to at the time of demand, when damage has already occurred.

MarketWatch: As a parent, how do you feel about sending your own children back to school?

Soriano: Reopening schools is a critical decision that is supported by the fact that youngsters very rarely become sick and allows parents to continue their jobs. So, I am in favor of reopening schools and therefore let my four children go to school, with the maximum guarantees they have established. I am aware that temporal closing of groups, classes and periodic cases will be reported. Inevitable. But working under this threat is preferable to paralyzing or closing the school.

Read on:Top coronavirus doctor in Spain has a message for revelers and tourists



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To defeat COVID-19, ‘we need a unified national strategy,’ says public health expert Dr. Howard Koh


This interview is part of a series of conversations MarketWatch is conducting with some of the leading voices in the U.S. on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Howard Koh knows what it’s like to be a government official running a pandemic response.

In 2009, while he served as assistant secretary of health in the Department of Health and Human Services, the H1N1 flu virus was detected in the U.S. More than 60 million people in the U.S. were thought to have contracted the novel form of the influenza A virus, with at least 12,469 people succumbing to it.

While there are marked differences between a flu pandemic and this coronavirus pandemic, Koh thinks many of the lessons he learned back in 2009 are missing today.

“When crises occur, what people expect and deserve is a one-government approach: federal, state and local officials working together to protect the American people,” Koh, now a professor of public health leadership at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said Wednesday during an interview. In 2009, “everybody saw that government was working together. And that’s what has been absent this time, and in my view has allowed this pandemic to persist for way too long.”

MarketWatch: What are some things you’d like Americans to better understand about how we develop drugs and vaccines in the U.S.?

Dr. Howard Koh: With respect to vaccines, particularly, there’s a very well-described, carefully followed process for vaccines through [clinical] testing protocols, having them approved by the FDA, and then disseminated broadly to the public. That’s a process that’s been respected over a number of decades for a whole host of vaccines that have saved millions of lives. We need to hold the standards high now for any potential COVID vaccine.

MarketWatch: Does the focus on speed worry you?

Koh: This current vaccine effort is being conducted in the fastest timetable in history. Vaccines can sometimes take a decade, and this vaccine is being developed over a matter of months. Along with speed, which is very much needed in a crisis like this, we also need attention to safety. And the public needs to hear more about the attention to safety.


‘If we skip the science now, it could cost us many lives later.’


— Dr. Howard Koh

MarketWatch: You recently tweeted about the need for clear, consistent standards for an emergency-use authorization, or EUA. What brought that up?

Koh: It was fairly clear to me and many of my scientific colleagues that the data on [convalescent plasma’s] effectiveness was not strong enough to proceed with an EUA. There have been no definitive outcomes from randomized, placebo-controlled trials. The Mayo Clinic data that was held up as justifying authorization were analyses where everybody got convalescent plasma and there was no control arm. They tried to say that people who got it earlier did better than those who got it later, and those who got higher doses did better than those who got the lower doses of antibodies. But that’s not the gold standard for creating definitive evidence.

At some point, randomized clinical trials are going to try to answer [whether] patients receiving convalescent plasma do better than those who don’t. [But] it’s very hard to have anybody agree to enter that trial because everybody will want the plasma, and no one will want to be randomized through a placebo-controlled arm. This announcement, ironically, is impeding the science. If we skip the science now, it could cost us many lives later.

MarketWatch: Just to clarify: the EUA means that any COVID patient who fits that profile or the indication can now receive plasma. So there would be no need to enroll in a trial?

Koh: That’s the fear. An emergency use authorization is not approval. [FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn] did say that, in his defense. But I don’t think people understand that distinction right now. The standard is much lower for issuing an EUA than a full FDA approval. In a time like this, where trust and confidence is everything, that bar has got to be held really high.

MarketWatch: Earlier this summer, the surge of cases in July seemed to catch a lot of Americans off guard after the lockdown. We’re seeing some leveling now. What do you predict for the fall? What are you looking out for?

Koh: Well, it’s true that the cases have dropped by about a third from the peak in midsummer, but we still have a long way to go. Hospitalizations have declined. Deaths are starting to drop a little bit. That reflects the sacrifices of millions of Americans to adhere to these public health standards, and people should be thanked and supported for following those new norms.

But we’ve got a long way to go. In every step of this pandemic, our country has underestimated the tenacity of this virus and overestimated our ability to contain it. As a result, we’re into month eight of the “first wave” whereas so many countries around the world got through this in two and a half to three months. We opened up too early. We let down our guard. There’s not been a coordinated national strategy. Every state is pursuing their own strategy. And it’s led to this protracted first wave.

People ask me regularly, is this a second wave? And I say, no, you have a second wave by definition only when the first wave comes and goes. The first wave has come and never left. Other countries are having small second waves [and] have aggressively tackled them in a way that our country has not. A second wave of COVID, plus seasonal flu, in the middle of schools and colleges [reopening], are all converging for this fall, and that’s the issue before us.

MarketWatch: If you could set a national coronavirus plan, what do you see as the key pillars of what the U.S. needs to do in terms of its response?


‘The first wave has come and never left [in the U.S.]. Other countries are having small second waves [and] have aggressively tackled them in a way that our country has not.’


— Dr. Howard Koh

Koh: We’ve never had a national strategy. It’s always been 50 states. It’s late but still not too late to say we need a unified national strategy going forward: on testing, not just harder but smarter; on supporting contact-tracing efforts, which in too many parts of the country are overwhelmed right now because the case loads are so high; and on making sure that states are cooperating and not competing with each other for supplies and [personal protective equipment], to assure the hospital capacity is ready to go this fall.

There should be a national requirement for masks. We still have only 35 states with requirements.

And then it’d be really important to have a daily briefing from the White House where top health officials, like Dr. Anthony Fauci [the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases], were allowed to address the press and public directly, every day, starting with the explanation of trends and data and evidence. The president restarted these briefings after a couple of months of hiatus. But we need the highest-level health officials who are trusted, so that people realize there’s a unified response and there’s a system trying to protect everybody.

The messaging has been so mixed. Confusion has been allowed to grow, and that’s just unacceptable, in the worst pandemic that our country has seen this century.

MarketWatch: What do you think have been the biggest issues in this pandemic?

Koh: Well, in the last 10 days, there was not just the FDA announcement [on convalescent plasma], which was then partially walked back by the commissioner, but then the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] changed guidelines on the need for asymptomatic contacts to be tested. And that appears to have been walked back, too, although last I heard the written guidance hadn’t been changed back.

What bothered me about the CDC development is that testing guidelines having to be revised is absolutely appropriate in a dynamic situation like this, with more evidence and data coming forward. We need constant revisiting of testing guidelines so we can focus on high-risk populations. But to do it just because the information was discovered on a website — it just creates confusion and questions. In the future, when such guidance needs to be revised, it should be done in a proactive way, with a formal press conference, with the director of the CDC explaining why the change was made, with the evidence and the data to support it. And if that were done, the scientific community would rally around what’s changing. But that did not occur.

MarketWatch: Following up on what you said earlier when we were talking about your national plan ideas, you mentioned testing not just harder but smarter. Can you explain that?

Koh: We now know that there are certain high-risk groups for COVID. Nursing homes, that’s absolutely front and center. Frontline health-care workers. Essential workers in key businesses. And, very importantly, communities of color. Homeless shelters. And now potentially schools and colleges.

They’re trying to send more rapid tests to nursing homes, and there’s more attention to testing for asymptomatic and symptomatic patients and staff in nursing homes. That’s a step forward. It came a little late, but at least it occurred. We want to see that process continue and then similar efforts for those other high-risk groups. The principle is always [to] go for the high-risk populations, and prioritize them. And we haven’t done that in a systematic way in this response at all.

This Q&A has been edited for clarity and length.

Read more A Word from the Experts interviews:

A lung doctor on what she’s learning about coronavirus ‘long haulers’: shortness of breath, fatigue, and depression but also ‘improvement over time’

This Seattle man volunteered to be injected with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine: ‘It was kind of my duty as a healthy individual to step up’

Dr. Osterholm: Americans will be living with the coronavirus for decades





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


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a historic nationwide ban on evictions, but ambiguous language in the order leaves open the possibility that renters could still be forced to leave their homes during a global pandemic, housing advocates say.

The CDC’s moratorium went into effect immediately when it was announced on Tuesday and will remain in place until Dec. 31. Altogether, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, the moratorium should protect some 40 million renters nationwide.

(For more information on how renters can access the protections provided by the CDC’s eviction ban, click here.)

The CDC’s order specifically prohibits people from being evicted from rental units for nonpayment of their rent. However, there are still a range of scenarios where a tenant could be kicked out of their home.

“The overall spirit of the order is designed to protect public health and keep people from being evicted except for reasons of misconduct,” said Eric Dunn, director of litigation at the National Housing Law Project. “But the order’s very ambiguous about how some of those situations would work.”

The moratorium carves out some exceptions for landlords: Tenants can still be evicted for engaging in criminal activity on the premises, threatening the health or safety of other residents, damaging the property or violating any other contractual obligation of the rent.

Read more: California eviction moratorium is ‘a real nightmare’ for renters to understand — here’s what you need to know

But it’s not clear what a landlord can do, for instance, if a renter’s lease is set to expire, but the property’s owner doesn’t want to renew with them. If a tenant were to remain on the property past the period of their original lease, they would technically be violating the terms of the contract, Dunn said, which would mean the landlord could technically still have the right to evict them.

“It leads to an absurd result,” Dunn said. “You’re in a Catch-22 where in order to comply with your lease to avoid being evicted you need to the leave the property.”


‘The overall spirit of the order is designed to protect public health and keep people from being evicted except for reasons of misconduct.’


— Eric Dunn, director of litigation at the National Housing Law Project

Also unclear is how the law applies for people without a formal lease agreement. This has become a concern in New York State in particular. The state currently has its own moratorium on eviction that covers people who have verbal agreements or month-to-month arrangements with landlords, protecting them from being evicted for not paying their rent in full.

Many people nationwide may also be subtenants who are not on the original lease and don’t have a direct relationship with the property’s landlord, or a lease may only have one of multiple roommates officially listed.

Additionally, the order explicitly exempts hotels and motels from abiding by its rules. Nationwide, though, many low-income individuals live in extended-stay hotels or motels as if they were apartments, Dunn said.

“A lot of people in different parts of the country don’t have written leases,” said Ellen Davidson, a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society in New York. “It’s just not clear from the order whether those tenants would be protected.”

The CDC’s order states that in cases where a state or municipality has its own eviction ban that provides as much or more protection as the national order, the nationwide moratorium will not apply. New York’s moratorium is set to expire on Sept. 30 — as a result, Davidson said she and other advocates are pushing for the state to extend its own moratorium given that it offers more protection.

Whether renters are safe to stay in their homes in these various scenarios not explicitly mentioned in the CDC’s directive will come down to judges. The national moratorium does not explicitly prevent eviction filings from occurring — though landlords who evict tenants who were covered by the moratorium could face criminal penalties including jail time if those people become sick with COVID-19.

“There will be courts all across this country all making this determination,” Davidson said. “It’s a big country out there with lots of different courts at every level. It would not surprise me that some places in this country would not want to follow a federal rule.”

Another concern is what might happen in a situation where landlords face foreclosure themselves. Many small landlords across the country are facing severe financial challenges as a result of tenants not being able to pay rent. Moratoria like the CDC’s order could make matters worse, because the policy was not immediately accompanied with extra funding for emergency rental assistance.


Many low-income Americans live in hotels and motels, but the CDC’s order exempts those businesses from the temporary ban on evictions.

During the housing crisis that preceded the Great Recession, many Americans suddenly faced eviction when their landlord went into foreclosure. Today, renters do have more protections. In 2018, President Trump signed into law a permanent extension of the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act. This law allow renters to remain in homes for at least 90 days or the remaining term of the lease if the property goes into foreclosure.

But after those 90 days, tenants could face significant challenges securing safe and affordable housing, particularly if they are unemployed or were unable to pay rent for many months because of the pandemic.

Ultimately, the CDC’s nationwide eviction ban is not a permanent solution, housing and legal experts said. “It does not actually prevent evictions — it delays them,” said Diane Yentel, CEO and president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “It buys some time for the actual solution, which is emergency rental assistance.”



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Weekend reads: An early warning sign for Tesla’s stock


The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index, after a long and steady rally this year, suffered its biggest two-day loss since mid-March to close out the week.

Before those declines, there were warning signs from Wall Street analysts who ordinarily shy away from rating any stock a “sell.” Shares of Tesla
TSLA,
+2.78%

had more “sell” ratings than “buy” ratings, and so did 62 other stocks in the Russell 1000 Index
RUI,
-0.85%
.

William Watts explains why it’s too early to call the tech-stock decline a correction.

Related Tesla and tech stories:

• Tesla’s stock story is one of newbs and rubes — but not quite the way you think it is

• Tesla’s stock sinks again to kick off a correction after disclosure of another large seller

• After Apple and Tesla stock splits, read this before jumping in

What the eviction moratoriums really mean

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has ordered a moratorium on evictions through the end of the year to keep people from being displaced during the COVID-19 crisis. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expects the moratorium to protect about 40 million renters. But if you rent your home, you need to understand important details of the order to make sure you are eligible, as Jacob Passy explains.

Related:California eviction moratorium is ‘a real nightmare’ for renters to understand — here’s what you need to know


Getty Images/iStockphoto

The desire to retire — when expenses are high

Alessandra Malito helps a man 15 years older than his wife who wishes to stop working. They are both high earners, but they have a problem with expenses.

Worried about voting by mail?

Look to Oregon.

Debt and inheritance

Quentin Fottrell — MarketWatch’s Moneyist — helps a woman who is concerned about how much of her husband’s debts she might be liable for if he dies. These affairs may not be so simple, depending on which state you live in.


Getty Images

Don’t Social Security benefits keep increasing over time?

Maybe not.

What to do when your online trading service is down

Several online brokerage services, including Robinhood, Charles Schwab
SCHW,
+2.28%
,
TD Ameritrade
AMTD,
+2.14%

and E-Trade
ETFC,
-0.12%

went down or slowed Aug. 31. Michael Brush has tips on how to lower your risk before these events and what to do when they occur.

Estate tax planning

Inheritance planning isn’t only for the wealthy. The tax implications for your inheritors can be difficult for them. Bill Bischoff — MarketWatch’s Tax Guy — shares four ways to ease the burden on those you love.

Vanguard revises a tax estimate ‘downward by a factor of 15’

Vanguard founder John Bogle supported a small tax on financial transactions, but Vanguard itself argued against it in January. But now the mutual fund giant has revised its estimates of how much investors and traders would actually pay, by quite a bit. Michael Edesess explains the math and why Vanguard is still against a transaction tax.


Supplied by the company

Bored with the stock market? Here’s an easy alternative

If you would like to invest in something real, away from the stock and real-estate markets, Lina Saigol may have something for you. She describes a new and easy platform that lets you invest in rare collectibles for as little as $5.

Want more from MarketWatch? Sign up for this and other newsletters, and get the latest news, personal finance and investing advice.



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