One positive thing about tax season: it forces you to look at all the nooks and crannies of your financial life. It's likely you've stumbled on some cracks that need filling or a missed opportunity you can now make good on. To help you sort out your portfolios, Dr. Richard Peterson, a psychiatrist and investment advisor with the firm MarketPsych, offers some tips.
"The funny thing about tax season is it gives us the chance to go over the past year and see where the leakage was in our portfolio, in our finances and see where things are going well, where they are not going well," says Peterson.
With our savings, Peterson says ideally we should save a percentage of our income to put away in our emergency fund. The reality is, most people are using savings to pay off credit card debt.
"There's the reality of should you maximize your 401(k) and at the same time be paying off your credit cards -- and of course not. We should pay off that credit card," says Peterson. "It's got to start little step by little step. If you're running behind on saving money, the only way to catch up is to take one controllable, small action. Increase your saving by 1 percent this month, something along those lines."
Peterson says when doing taxes and focusing on details, it's stressful for most people. But, that might be a good thing.
"The funny thing about stress is it makes us detail oriented," says Peterson. "Negativaty actually makes our minds clearer about exactly what's happening. It makes us easier to focus on the details. So in terms of tax season being a good time to lay out long-term plans, it generally is because we're more realistic. We have to deal with the real numbers and we're able to focus on those details like no other time."
Two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during their getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left one of them dead and another still at large on Friday morning, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities have described the remaining suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a dangerous terrorist and have urged residents of several Boston-area cities and towns to stay in their homes. All modes of Boston-area transit have been suspended. Businesses are being asked to remain closed as the search continues. The AP is reporting that an empty SUV linked to the suspect has now been found in Boston.
Katie Zezima, a correspondent with the Associated Press covering the events from Watertown, says clashes between the suspects and the police took place in a very residential area of Watertown.
"There were people in the street just because they were woken up by it at two or three in the morning. They were nervous, there were sounds of gunshots that were going off, there were dozens and dozens of police cars, SWAT team vehicles," says Zezima.
This morning, Boston police took to Twitter to urge people not to use social media to reveal where police are conducting searches.
"If the suspects themselves were on a smartphone or some kind of mobile device and were monitoring social media, they could get information that would put those officers at risk," says William Ward, professor of social media at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Ward adds that the directive may also help to keep local area residents safe and accurately informed.
"It's kind of a nervous, scary feeling," says Arthur Paloukos, who owns Linda's Donuts in Belmont, Massachusetts. "We locked the back door, it is nerve-wracking, especially when the SWAT teams came walking by with the dogs, and yelled at us to be inside and don't open the door."
This morning's events began only a few hours after the FBI released photos and videos of the two young men, who were seen carrying backpacks as they mingled among marathon spectators. The bombings on Monday killed three people and wounded more than 180 others, and authorities revealed the images to enlist the public's help finding the suspects.
This story has been updated to include the name of the suspect and the directive from the Boston Police Department. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Sunday that France's economy is expected to grow just 0.1 percent this year, a downward revision from the country's initial target. Moscovici, who is part of the Socialist goverment of Francois Hollande, was selected along with his party on the promise of more growth and less austerity.
Moscovici joined Marketplace Morning Report host Jeremy Hobson to discuss the state of the French economy and where it is headed in the future.
On why the French economy is struggling:
Moscovici: "I don’t think that’s the right question. The right question is, what is wrong with the euro zone economy? The problem is that the euro zone is the place that we live. It’s the countries that with we exchange more. And the difficulty is that the euro zone is going to have the second year of a recession, and it’s very difficult for a country like France to grow when its own environment is weak. So the question is, how can we hold together Germany, Italy, Spain, and furthermore the European Union countries, strengthen our growth, and grow together? This is the question for France. How to make the structural reforms internally, and to have a stronger economy and a better situation for the business, for the firms. And how to cooperate better between us for a stronger growth."
On whether interdependency in the euro zone is good or bad:
Moscovici: "Neither a benefit, neither a problem. It’s just a reality. We decided, more than 50 years ago, to unite our destinies, through the European Union. And 70 percent of trade is indicated into exchanges in the European Union. About 15 years ago, we decided to have a single currency -- the euro, which is a strong currency, now very important currency in the world -- the second most important after the dollar. What we must do now is again to grow together, to divine up our capacities, and to encourage competitiveness. That’s what we’re doing in France. I believe by the second half of 2013, we would be capable to regain growth. In the years to come -- 2014, 2015 -- to have a much stronger growth."
On austerity measures undertaken by the Hollande government:
Moscovici: "I think that reducing deficits is a common interest. A country with a higher debt is a weakened country. Every euro which is dedicated to finance public debt is a euro lost for economy or public service. This is why we must fight debt and fight it strongly. This is why too, since debt is composed of several deficits, we must reduce our deficit. And fiscal consolidation is a necessity. But we must not add recession to austerity, or austerity to recession."
Click on the audio player above to hear more.
The scene around Boston Friday was chaotic. Police were going house to house in Watertown as they searched for "suspect No. 2" in the bombings. "Suspect No. 1," known as "black hat," was said to be dead. People across the area were told to shelter in place.
Ticker symbol DNKN picked up a percent and a bit today. Analysts will tell you it was because business at Dunkin' Donuts is pretty good.
I, however, would like to think it's because Wall Street knows a good deed when it sees it.
In the middle of the insanity in Boston today came this news: That Dunkin' Donuts outlets would stay open despite the lockdown order to make sure police and first responders would be taken care of.
Make all the jokes you like about cops and donuts, but you gotta be thankful for 'em today.
A tense night of police activity just days after the Boston Marathon bombings has caused police to converge on a neighborhood outside Boston where they say there were explosives. The chaos in Watertown, about 10 miles west of Boston, occurred just hours after a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer was shot and killed on campus. It was unclear if the outbursts of violence were related
Jack Richmond was a young father when his leg was crushed in a work accident. Though in denial at first that it would need to be amputated, he quickly realized he could share his experience to help other amputees, as he tells his daughter, Reagan, on a visit to StoryCorps.