Know Why Your Credit Score Changes: 9 Money Moves to Consider

Your credit score is a key indicator of your financial well-being and of the risk you pose to lenders. The score that lenders most commonly check, known as a FICO score, typically ranges from 300 to 850. Generally, a score of about 700 or higher means you're managing your credit well. A score of 760 or higher is often what you need to get the lowest interest rates on loans.

Along with making moves to keep your credit score high, you'll want to avoid actions that could set it back. You're probably aware that paying bills late can wreak havoc on your score. But do you know what else can drag down your score -- and what has no effect?

Read more: https://www.kiplinger.com/personal-finance/credit-debt/601039/why-your-credit-score-changes-money-moves-to-consider

Stock Market Today: Gilead Gives Stocks a Booster Shot

Gilead Sciences (GILD, +2.2%) once again helped inject a little life into stocks Friday with the help of its coronavirus treatment remdesivir.

The major indices appeared poised for losses in early trading amid another record surge in U.S. COVID-19 cases, as well as yesterday's comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicating that the White House wants to cap unemployment benefits in the next round of coronavirus stimulus.

65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On in 2020

However, Gilead announced that an analysis of previously released clinical trial data revealed an "important finding": namely, a 62% reduction in mortality risk in coronavirus patients compared to the current standard of care. 

The news was music to Wall Street's ears; financial stocks including JPMorgan Chase (JPM, +5.5%) and Goldman Sachs (GS, +4.5%) contributed to a 1.4% jump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average to 26,075. The S&P 500 finished 1.1% higher to 3,185, while the small-cap Russell 2000 jumped 1.7% to 1,422.

The Nasdaq Composite gained a more modest 0.6%, but that marked a third straight close at record highs.

Get Ready for Earnings Season

Do some stretches over the weekend, because we're all about to engage in some serious rubbernecking next week.

That's when the second-quarter earnings season kicks off in earnest (you can check out the upcoming calendar here), and Wall Street's analysts are predicting nothing short of a bottom-line bloodbath.

FactSet's John Butters reports that the S&P 500's collective Q2 earnings are expected to decline by a whopping 44.6% year-over-year -- the index's worst performance since the final quarter of 2008.

"It should be noted that in the previous quarter, the actual earnings decline (-15.0%) was much larger than the estimated earnings decline at the end of the quarter (-6.9%), as analysts made unusually large cuts to EPS estimates after the end of the quarter and fewer companies reported positive EPS surprises than average," Butters writes. "The last time the actual earnings growth rate was lower than the estimated earnings growth rate at the end of the quar

Read more: https://www.kiplinger.com/investing/stocks/601040/stock-market-today-071020-gilead-sciences-gild-stocks-higher

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)

Time is running out if you haven't filed your 2019 federal tax return yet. While this year's "Tax Day" was pushed back from April 15 to July 15 to give people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic more time to file a Form 1040, the day of reckoning is almost here. But filing your federal tax return isn't the only thing you should be thinking about on July 15 – it's an important date on this year's tax calendar for plenty of other reasons, too.

You might have to take some action by July 15 if you're saving for retirement or college, have a health savings account, or receive self-employment income. There are other reasons why you might have a tax-related deadline on that day, too. And, of course, overlooking a due date could cost you money – either in additional taxes, penalties, or interest. So, as a quick reminder, here are 12 tax deadlines for July 15 that you don't want to miss. Check them out to see if something unexpected applies to you.

Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year

Read more: https://www.kiplinger.com/taxes/tax-deadline/601038/tax-deadlines-for-july-15

7 Top Robinhood Stocks: Do the Pros Agree?

One of the many stock market phenomena of 2020 has been the rise of the Robinhood trader. The trading app, which has become extremely popular among millennials, boasts 13 million accounts, putting it on par with the likes of Schwab. And given a few stories of its traders making millions virtually overnight, some investors naturally have an interest in following the most popular Robinhood stocks.

It hasn't been all gravy, of course. For every eye-popping Robinhood success, there are many more normalized returns you don't hear about, not to mention deep losses.

And Robinhood, for all of its good in helping bring down trading costs across the board, hasn't been without its share of negative publicity. The app suffered several outages during the bear market, leaving traders unable to act in the midst of massive moves. And the recent suicide of a young trader from Illinois highlighted the dangers of providing access to sophisticated investment methods with little vetting, as well as seemingly "gamifying" investing.

Robinhood investors have nonetheless piqued the curiosity of the broader community. And it's easy to satisfy one's curiosity about their investing habits: Robinhood itself lists the app's most popular stocks at any given time, including how many accounts are invested in each.

Here are seven of the top Robinhood stocks and see whether Wall Street's pros see what these traders see. We ran seven of the app's top 10 names through TipRanks' database to monitor what the analyst community had to say about each.

65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On in 2020 Data and Robinhood popularity stats are as of July 9.

Read more: https://www.kiplinger.com/investing/stocks/601036/top-robinhood-stocks-do-the-pros-agree

Is an Immediate Annuity for You?

With an immediate income annuity, you convert a lump sum into a stream of income that starts almost immediately. Having a guaranteed set stream of income for life provides valuable longevity insurance.

12 Things You Didn't Know About Annuities

Technically, the product is a single premium immediate annuity, or SPIA, because it’s bought with a lump sum. Most often, though, it’s just called an immediate annuity.

The product is still timely despite historically low interest rates. Many retirees and pre-retirees are either tired of volatility or have already pulled funds from the market and are looking for predictable ways to generate guaranteed income for a specific period or a lifetime or joint lifetime. Only annuities can do that. A healthy person today can eliminate the risk of ongoing market volatility and ensure that their savings will last over a very long lifetime.

The disadvantage is that you don’t have access to that money anymore. You’ve traded it in for a contract providing you with income that can last until you (and, optionally your spouse) die. But trading liquidity for guaranteed income brings many people peace of mind.

Many people use immediate annuities to cover their monthly core living expenses not covered by pensions and Social Security. They thus “pensionize” some of their assets to make sure that their core expenses are offset by guaranteed income. Remaining assets can then be placed in other instruments, such as stocks, accumulation focused indexed annuities and mutual funds. Devoting a portion of your portfolio to income production while retaining the balance in growth-oriented investments can be a great allocation strategy.

Here some key questions to ask when considering an immediate annuity.

Do I need more income right now?

If you need more income today or very soon, an immediate annuity can be a great solution, because it takes the risk out of your income stream. But, suppose you don’t need more income until you retire, say, five years from now. In that case, you’d be better off buying a deferred income annuity, with payments starting in five years. That way, you’ll get five more years of tax-deferred compounding in the annuity and bigger payments when you start.

Alternatively, you could buy a five-year

Read more: https://www.kiplinger.com/retirement/annuities/601035/is-an-immediate-annuity-for-you

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