Baby, what a face
The cost of doing your taxes


Dow_chart That's been the stock market's magic number for the last couple of days, the highest it's been since June 2001.

Jerry Knight, stock watcher for the Washington Post, notes in this article that by holding above the 11,000 mark for two days, the market defied cynics who predicted the spike would be a one-day wonder.

The recovery of stocks (NASDAQ also has been on a run upwards) is a good sign for investors, especially those who've got most of their retirement funds in equities.

But there still are people for whom cash is king. They won't go near the market, despite its potential for increasing their wealth. Their greater fear is the potential that stocks hold for crashing.

A lot of these folks remember the storied 1929 plunge. Many were children back then, actually watching their families struggle to recover; others just heard the stories of how hard it was. Either way, it made a lasting impression on the way they deal with money.

Some people are just risk averse, and the market, good or bad, is just too big a gamble for their hard-earned dollars. They've got a point. In his article, Knight also cites a respected Wall Street strategist who thinks that despite recent gains, the S&P 500 index could fall as much as 10 percent this year.

Then there are those who just don't have the cash to spare for investment in the future. They need every dime to make it through today.

What will these non-investors do when they can no longer work, either by their own choice of someone else's decision? They'll depend on Social Security and, in many cases, their families for support.

It's a delicate situation when the parent and child tables turn. Intellectually, you understand the circumstances that demand that the child become the caregiver, but flipping the psychological switch on such a role reversal is much, much harder.

Almost every family will be in this situation to some degree one day, so start thinking about it now. Kids, broach the subject with your parents. And parents, be honest about how much help you will or won't accept from your adult children.

By hashing it out beforehand, neither of you has to tiptoe around unsaid expectations or deal with such important matters in a crisis mode. You'll can establish a realistic plan that both parent and child can live with emotionally and within financially.

On the financial side, a child who helps support a parent might be able to get some tax help. The key to claiming any tax breaks associated with care of your parent is making sure that mom or dad can qualify as your dependent, which is the topic of TODAY'S TAX TIP.

A big part of meeting the dependency requirement is how much money you contribute toward your parent's support. You also might need to consider whether any siblings will help you take care of your parent. You can get the details and recommendations here on how to handle this new stage of your life and its tax implications.

Once you're through reading, you also might want to pull a Stevie Wonder and call the folks just to say you love them.


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