Smart Money: Zelle Scams, and When to Sell Investments
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Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.
This week’s episode starts with a discussion about protecting yourself from fraud in honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Then we pivot to this week’s money question from Michael, who wrote this email: “Hi Nerds, thank you for your helpful and entertaining advice. My question is, I have been a buy-and-hold investor for many, many years. So one could say I am a buy-and-hold-and-hold-and-hold investor. Over the years, the portfolio has done relatively well, and therefore, if I was going to make any changes that would be advisable at this time, the portfolio would incur very sizable tax events. This scares me, because it might be a good long-term strategy, but I may not have a long time. So I have just continued to hold and get old. Not bad, but what would you suggest? Thanks.”
Check out this episode on any of these platforms:
Our take on peer-to-peer payment apps
Fraud has become increasingly common on peer-to-peer payment apps like Zelle. And because these apps lack the fraud protections that come with credit and debit cards, it’s harder to reclaim any lost money. If you believe you’re a fraud victim, you should file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and your state’s attorney general.
Limit who you’re sending money to through payment apps to people and businesses you trust, and secure your accounts by beefing up your password strength. Cybersecurity experts recommend using different passwords for every account. Consider investing in a password management system that safely stores all of your passwords so you don’t have to memorize them.
Our take on selling stock
A decision to sell stock should take into account several factors, including the type of investment account, tax implications and retirement goals. In general, selling off stock in response to a dip in the market is not advisable because the market will eventually recover. However, for people nearing retirement, it may be prudent to sell stocks and buy more stable assets such as bonds.
You may have to pay taxes when you sell stock, but not always. If you made a profit on the stock, you’ll probably have to pay capital gains tax, whereas a loss can be used to reduce your taxable income by up to $3,000. Taxes can potentially be avoided if you pass down stocks to your heirs.
- Know your strategy: Buy-and-hold is usually a better strategy than day trading, but you still need an exit plan.
- Consider your account options: Different accounts carry different tax implications, so research the account you’re investing from just as carefully as you’d consider your actual investments.
- Evolve as needed: It’s OK to adjust your strategy as you get closer to your investment goal. If you need help, talk with a financial advisor.
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