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    As inflation hits another record, here are 5 steps you can take to protect your money

    The core Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index, an inflation measure closely watched by the Federal Reserve, climbed to a new high in December.
    The 4.9% gain versus the prior year represents the biggest jump since September 1983.
    Consumers who have seen day-to-day prices soar probably aren’t surprised. But there are steps you can take to help manage the bite from your budget.

    urbazon | E+ | Getty Images

    An inflation gauge closely watched by the Federal Reserve has reached a record high.
    The core Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index climbed 4.9% from a year ago in December.

    The index measures the prices people pay in the U.S. for goods and services, excluding food and energy, which tend to have more volatile prices.
    The 4.9% gain represents the biggest jump since September 1983, in yet another inflation record.
    More from Personal Finance:3 key reasons to keep your will or estate plan updatedTax season is underway. How to get a faster refundHere’s a financial road map for the rest of the year
    Consumers who face day-to-day price increases in recent months likely won’t be surprised by that news.
    Inflation — which some experts had initially promised would be transitory — has lasted longer than many had hoped.

    There may not be an immediate fix as pandemic conditions contribute to higher prices and supply chain issues.

    But experts say there are steps people can take to try to stay ahead of rising costs.

    1. Stay invested in equities

    Even amid the recent market rout, the primary way to offset inflation is to own equities, according to Mark Hebner, president and founder of Index Fund Advisors, an Irvine, California, fee-only advisory and wealth management firm that was No. 72 on CNBC.com’s FA 100 list for 2021.
    The reason for that is that stocks have a strong track record. Over more than 90 years, equities have had returns in excess of inflation, he said.
    The key to success is to design an all-weather portfolio for all market conditions and then to rebalance when necessary, Hebner said. In other words, scary headlines about rising costs and supply chain woes should not throw you off course and prompt you to make reactionary trades.

    2. Adjust your spending

    RapidEye | E+ | Getty Images

    Ideally, your income should go up at the same pace as inflation. If it does not, you may have to pare back your spending.
    That goes particularly for retirees, who anticipate living off a certain portion of their portfolio. An annual withdrawal strategy of around 6% should enable people to keep up with inflation, due to expected increases in their portfolios’ value, Hebner said.
    But if retirees find it difficult to pay for certain items, they should pare back their spending, he said. Variable expenses, like entertainment, would be a great place to start.
    Those who are collecting Social Security benefits received a 5.9% bump to their monthly checks this year, due to an annual cost-of-living adjustment that is the highest it’s been in four decades.
    Meanwhile, workers who are still employed should hope to see at least a 3% annual salary bump in order to keep up with rising costs.

    3. Negotiate your debts

    A great way to combat rising prices is to fix your costs, said Carl Zuckerberg, principal and chief investment strategist at RZH Advisors, an independent wealth management firm in Stamford, Connecticut, that was No. 46 on CNBC’s Financial Advisor 100 list for 2021.
    To that end, Zuckerberg’s team at RZH Advisors has urged clients to refinance their mortgages at 15- and 30-year fixed rates.
    “Having a fixed-cost mortgage with a fixed interest rate means that cost in your life, which is normally one of the larger costs in someone’s budget, is not going to go up with inflation,” Zuckerberg said.
    In addition, it’s important to refinance or pay off other debts you may have.
    When buying new items, pay attention to deals that offer 0% interest for extended periods like 39 months for items like mattresses or home exercise equipment.
    “If you think inflation is going to be high, that means every day one dollar is worth less,” Zuckerberg said.
    “If you can pay with future discounted dollars, that’s a home run in an inflationary environment,” he said.

    4. Rethink your gas consumption

    A gas station in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City on Jan. 12, 2022.
    Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

    While it can be tough to find new and used cars to purchase, certain electric vehicles are fully stocked at dealerships. What’s more, that can help you sever your ties to gas prices altogether, Zuckerberg said.
    If you’re not planning to buy a car now, you can still control how much you spend on gas by downloading an app to find the lowest prices in your area, he said.

    5. Bundle your purchases

    As prices for cars and home construction rise, one way to potentially get significant discounts on those big-ticket purchases is by bundling them.
    Zuckerberg had clients who were doing home renovations at the same time as a neighbor and used the same contractor. The contractor was able to do the work on both properties and only had to bring in equipment once. Those savings were passed on to neighbors in the form of a 15% to 20% discount on a six-figure job.
    The same concept works for buying cars. If you go to a dealership with a friend and each purchase separate cars, you may be able to negotiate a bigger discount than if you went alone, he said.
    “We’ve been recommending that to our clients, and it works on all levels,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s a win-win.”

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    Cramer says market needs a 'total give up' to find a bottom and signal an all-clear to buyers

    The stock market needs to get worse before it can get better, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday.
    “I’m looking for a day where people just say ‘I give up,'” the “Mad Money” host said.
    “You don’t want no hope and no help from any of the companies,” but the sellers need to exhaust themselves, he added.

    The stock market needs to get worse before it can get better, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday.
    “I’m looking for a day where people just say ‘I give up,'” Cramer said on “Squawk Box,” heading into another wild trading day, with both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 now in correction territory.

    “We have to have a total give up, and I still think that we haven’t had the give up that I’d like to see. We’re starting to get it,” he added, ahead of stocks turning positive Friday.
    Investors shouldn’t look to companies like Chevron to save them, the “Mad Money” host said.
    Chevron shares were losing roughly 5% after the energy giant Friday morning reported mixed quarterly results. The company’s stock hit an all-time high in the prior session.
    Apple shares were jumping more than 5%, adding to gains following strong earnings late Thursday. The tech bellwether’s strength failed to inspire the market early Friday but then helped it higher.
    “We have to have these stocks go down … and when they all go down, then I think we finally get a bottom,” Cramer said. “It’s clear that we’re in a phase for people to say, ‘Get me out’ … you’ve got those periods of denial, and now there is just acceptance, and I think people are going to say, ‘I can’t take it anymore.'”

    Cramer said, “You don’t want no hope and no help from any of the companies,” but the sellers need to exhaust themselves before buyers can step back into the market.
    Recalling the Gulf War’s impact on the market in the early 1990s, he added: “We used to get recovery on Friday. People would be afraid to go in shorter on the weekend.”
    “Maybe that’s kind of where we might be,” he said.

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    Majority of borrowers say taking on federal student loan debt is not worth it, CNBC survey finds

    Nearly one-third of undergraduates borrow money from the federal government to pay for college. That’s about 43 million Americans who owe a staggering total of nearly $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loans.
    A new survey found that 54% of federal student loan borrowers said taking on that debt was not worth it. Overall, however, 44% said taking on that debt was worth it, according to the CNBC + Acorns Invest In You Student Loan Survey, done in partnership with Momentive. (The online poll was conducted Jan. 10-13 among a national sample of 5,162 adults.)

    Getty Images

    Yet, many millennials and Gen Xers are far more skeptical. Some 63% of respondents ages 35 to 44 said, considering their current situation, it was not worth it to take out federal student loans. 
    The average loan amount for federal student loan borrowers is $36,510.
    Kate Bernyk, 39, finished graduate school nearly 15 years ago with two communications degrees and about $100,000 in student debt.
    “I used to be really proud that I had a master’s degree, but now it feels a little bit foolish,” said Bernyk, a New York-based senior communications specialist. “It feels like maybe I shouldn’t have gone because it’s really hard to put a price on what  the advantage has been versus the disadvantage of getting into debt.”
    She still owes more than $30,000 in student loans. 

    A bachelor’s degree holder earns a median of $2.8 million during their career — 75% more than if they had only a high school diploma — although when broken down by gender, women with a BA have median lifetime earnings of $2.4 million, compared to $3.3 million for men.

    Kate Bernyk, 39, finished graduate school with two communications degrees and about $100,000 in student debt.
    CNBC | Andy Tenke

    Loan repayment pause ending

    Borrowers got a reprieve from federal loan payments when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. That relief has since been extended five times and is now set to end in May. The payment pause has given many borrowers more money to use for everyday expenses (48%) and pay other debts (35%), the survey found.
    Yet, when federal loan repayments resume, one-third or more of the borrowers surveyed said they’ll have to delay other financial goals, such as paying off other debts (42%), investing money (40%), saving for retirement (38%) or buying a home (33%). 

    Arrows pointing outwards

    Source: CNBC + Acorns Invest In You Student Loan Survey, conducted by Momentive

    “It’s like a mortgage without the house at the end of it,” Bernyk said.
    The potential drag on the economy is one reason supporters of student loan forgiveness, like economist Kristen Broady, are pushing for more.
    “If people don’t have to pay back that money,” said Broady, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, “that’s more money that they can spend on durable and non-durable goods or services. That money goes directly into the economy.”
    More from Invest in You:Most Americans want Biden to prioritize student loan forgiveness, survey saysStudent loan holders are more likely to be women and people of color81% of adults with student loans say they’ve had to delay key life milestones
    A majority, or 57% in the survey, said they believe President Joe Biden should make student loan forgiveness a priority, but views are mixed on how to do it. 
    About a third of respondents said all student debt should be forgiven, nearly the same amount said forgive loans for only those in need and about one in four said there should be no forgiveness.

    Every dollar they borrow is going to cost them two dollars by the time they repay the debt, and they don’t really think about that.

    Mark Kantrowitz
    Financial aid expert

    Biden campaigned on a proposal to forgive $10,000 in student debt. Some Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., are calling on the President to cancel student debt up to $50,000.
    However, Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, said blanket loan forgiveness would be a “massive mistake” — and the extension of the student loan pause has already cost taxpayers over $150 billion.

    Overwhelming to think about

    Denisse Quintanilla, a CNBC intern and first generation college student, plans to graduate in May. She is unsure what the terms of her loan will be once she will have to begin making payments.
    “It’s still overwhelming to think about how much I should be paying each month in order to not be into my 30s or early 40s and still have my student loan debt,” Quintanilla said.
    While students may receive counseling when they first borrow the money, financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz says it often falls short.
    “Every dollar they borrow is going to cost them two dollars by the time they repay the debt, and they don’t really think about that,” he said. 
    Bernyk, who held jobs at non-profits and in government for over 10 years, has had a great deal of time to think about and try to tackle her student debt burden. She may have found a solution to get to the finish line. 
    Last fall, the Biden administration eased requirements to qualify for public service loan forgiveness. Bernyk said she’s been working with her loan servicer to qualify under this federal program to have her remaining loan balance wiped clean. The new rules are in effect until Oct. 31, 2022. More

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    Most Americans want Biden to prioritize student loan forgiveness, CNBC survey says

    U.S. President Joe Biden returns to the White House on Jan. 24th, 2022.
    Alex Wong | Getty Images News | Getty Images

    More than a year into his first term, Loren Ewing is disappointed that President Joe Biden hasn’t moved to forgive student debt. She remembers his vow on the campaign trail to deliver “immediate cancellation of a minimum of $10,000” per person.
    “As soon as the election cycle got through, and he got in office, crickets,” said Ewing, 24, who lives in Cincinnati and owes close to $40,000 in student loans.

    Along with Ewing, 57% of Americans say they want the president to make student loan forgiveness a priority, according to an CNBC + Acorns Invest In You Student Loan Survey, conducted by Momentive. (The online poll was conducted January 10 to 13 among a national sample of 5,162 adults.)
    More than a third of Gen Z and millennials believe student loan forgiveness should be a high priority for Biden.
    Outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. has exceeded $1.7 trillion and poses a larger burden to households than credit card or auto debt. Roughly a quarter of borrowers, or 10 million people, are estimated to be in delinquency or default.

    Arrows pointing outwards

    No historical precedent exists for the kind of sweeping student loan forgiveness the president is increasingly under pressure to provide by members in his party, advocates and so many borrowers who say the lending system is predatory and perpetuates inequality.
    “Student debt is a policy failure,” said Thomas Gokey, co-founder of the Debt Collective, a national union of debtors. “We must cancel this unjust debt, which will also help build pressure to solve the root cause. We must fully fund public colleges and universities so that no one is forced into debt for an education in the future.”

    The White House is currently weighing the legal and political risks of such a large move. An executive order canceling the debt could be challenged in the courts, possibly by Republican lawmakers, throwing the accounts of more than 40 million borrowers into limbo.
    There are also reports that there are disagreements on the topic within Biden’s closest circle. The president himself has questioned if providing loan cancellation to those who’ve benefited from a college education is the best way to buoy middle class families.
    More from Invest in You:Majority of borrowers say taking on federal student loan debt is not worth it, survey findsCompanies raise perks to repay employees’ student loansWork-from-anywhere jobs are hard to come by. These companies have them
    Yet progressives and advocates say the student debt crisis has caused the most pain to women, people of color and those who didn’t come from wealthy families who could foot the rising bills of a college education. And they warn that inaction will cost Democrats in the midterms.
    “A lack of movement on student debt cancellation will result in the Democratic party’s base — young people, Black voters — staying at home,” Gokey said.
    Recent polls show Biden’s approval rating among young people is on the decline.

    Ewing, who studied environmental science at the University of Cincinnati and currently works at a daycare making $400 a week, said she feels frustrated and disappointed by both political parties.
    “Neither side wants to help us,” she said. Although if Biden were to cancel student loans, she said, “I’d give him another term and stay with the Democrats.”

    For Jeff Riesenmy, student debt cancellation is right up there with issues like climate change and income inequality that he wants to see Biden prioritizing. He currently owes around $170,000 in student loans, which, after more than a decade of payments, is still more than he originally borrowed because of interest charges.
    “I don’t think people understand just how crazy it is,” said Riesenmy, 35, who graduated from Emory Law School in 2012.
    Today he lives in Austin, Texas, and has a well-paying job as a product manager at a technology company, but his student debt feels insurmountable.
    “This is by far the single major stressor in my life,” Riesenmy said. “It factors into every financial decision I make: Can I have a kid? Can I buy a house?”

    Jeff Riesenmy
    Source: Jeff Riesenmy

    The White House has repeatedly said it supports Congress drafting legislation to cancel student debt, but the odds of such a bill passing are near impossible, experts say. Even some Democrats don’t support broad loan cancellation.
    Aware of this, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., have been pressuring the president to deliver the relief through executive order, arguing that he has the authority to do so.
    “You don’t need Congress,” Schumer has said. “You just need the flick of a pen.”

    A lack of movement on student debt cancelation will result in the Democratic party’s base — young people, Black voters — staying at home.

    Thomas Gokey
    co-founder of the Debt Collective

    Biden has asked the U.S. Department of Education to prepare a memo outlining his power to forgive student loans, but the agency has had that report for more than 10 months and its findings have still not been made public. Over 80 House and Senate members wrote a letter to Biden this month urging his administration to share that repot and to immediately cancel $50,000 in student debt for all, which would cost around $1 trillion.
    “It’s a cop out to punt to Congress,” Riesenmy said. “I don’t see much of an excuse for inaction at this point.” 
    A spokesperson for the White House said the president continues to look into what debt relief actions can be taken administratively. In the meantime, Biden has extended the payment pause for student loan borrowers that has been in effect since March 2020. Payments are expected to restart in May.

    Ian Rhodewalt, an educator and union employee, who lives in Amherst, Mass., said he believes student loan cancellation should be an “urgent priority” for the president.
    He and his wife owe more than $130,000, and say the debt has their life on pause.
    “We cannot buy a home because of student debt,” said Rhodewalt, 36, who graduated from Oberlin College in 2009 with a degree in creative writing and dance. He also is finishing a degree in labor studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
    “It’s harder to make larger purchases, like appliances,” Rhodewalt said. “It also affects how much money we can put towards retirement.”

    Ian Rhodewalt
    Source: Ian Rhodewalt

    Rhodewalt helped to write a resolution calling on Biden to cancel student debt that was recently passed by the Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation, a coalition of more than 60 public and private-sector unions.
    “Student loan debt cancellation will be a big topic among unions,” Rhodewalt predicted.
    “Working class people, when they seek any form of further education beyond high school, are more at risk of falling into the student loan debt trap and having their families anchored by debt for generations,” he said.
    JOIN: Should student loan debt be forgiven? Join CNBC reporters and contributors today on Twitter spaces at 12 pm to discuss.
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    CNBC Survey: 81% of adults with student loans say they’ve had to delay key life milestones

    Maskot | DigitalVision | Getty Images

    More than 45 million Americans collectively owe over $1.7 trillion in student debt. 
    Economists say this mounting total worsens generational inequality, slows economic growth and exacerbates racial disparities. On a micro-economic level, borrowers also face serious consequences in their day-to-day lives. 

    According to CNBC + Acorn’s recently released Invest in You Student Loan Survey conducted by Momentive, 81% of people with student loans say they’ve had to delay one or more key life milestones because of their debt. Momentive surveyed 5,162 American adults between Jan 10 and Jan 13 online to better understand the impact of student debt. 
    The survey found that among student loan borrowers, 42% delay paying off other loans, 40% delay investing money, 38% delay saving for retirement, 35% delay travel, 33% delay buying a home, 16% delay having a baby, 14% delay getting married and 12% delay finding a new job. 

    Arrows pointing outwards

    “Student loan debt prevents family formation, it prevents people from making decisions about their life, about purchasing a home, about buying their first car, about getting married, about having children,” lists Nicole Smith, chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “And that wasn’t the purpose of student loan debt. Student loan debt was supposed to be good debt — the type that you take out so that you can invest in your human capital formation so that you can live your life afterward — and it’s morphed into something much more insidious.”
    Momentive researchers found that the most common sacrifices made by borrowers varied slightly by age. For instance, those aged 35-64 were most likely to delay paying off other loans, while borrowers under 35 were most likely to delay buying a home or investing. 
    More from Invest in You:Majority of borrowers say taking on federal student loan debt is not worth it, survey findsMost Americans want Biden to prioritize student loan forgiveness, survey saysStudent loan holders are more likely to be women and people of color

    “The weight of student loans is a cloud that weighs over every financial decision, from your daily coffee to your big life decisions,” says Braxton Brewington, press secretary for The Debt Collective, a union organization that represents student debt holders. “So many people say they would start a business if they did not have student debt. So many people delay getting married because they don’t want their partner to take on the debt.”
    Brewington says he has even spoken with borrowers who have rationed medication because of their student loan burden.
    This dynamic in which student loan borrowers can’t save for the future, or for emergencies, makes for a less stable society, says Smith. 
    Paying off student debt “first affects your ability to get the standard things that are often required to transition into adulthood: a house, a car and a family,” she says. “That’s what happens immediately. But on the back end of that… you often end up living on a razor’s edge. Because if there’s any eventuality, anything that happens outside of your equilibrium, you run the risk of bankruptcy.”
    And for many people hoping to compete in the modern economy, attending college and taking on student loan debt can feel unavoidable.  More

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    CNBC survey: Student loan holders are more likely to be women and people of color

    JohnnyGreig | E+ | Getty Images

    There are few things more American adults have in common than student debt. Most recent estimates suggest that more than 45 million Americans collectively owe over $1.7 trillion in student debt. 
    This diverse population of student debt holders includes senior citizens and teenagers; high-earning professionals and low-income laborers; Republicans and Democrats. Still, there are some groups that are disproportionately impacted by student debt — especially women and people of color.

    “$1.7 trillion, is close to 9% of the GDP of the entire country. That’s huge! That’s significant! And it really touches every American’s life in some way,” says Nicole Smith, chief economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “But their long-term experience really depends on socioeconomic status. And it’s highly correlated with race, and it’s highly correlated with wealth, and whether you come from a high-income or low-income family.”
    According to CNBC + Acorn’s recently released Invest in You Student Loan Survey conducted by Momentive, 68% of U.S. adults have debt, 15% have federal student loan debt, and women and people of color are disproportionately represented in these groups. Momentive surveyed 5,162 American adults between Jan 10 and Jan 13 online to get a better picture of the communities most impacted by student debt. 
    More from Invest in You:Majority of borrowers say taking on federal student loan debt is not worth it, survey findsMost Americans want Biden to prioritize student loan forgiveness, survey says81% of adults with student loans say they’ve had to delay key life milestones
    “Reflecting historical access to capital, more people of color and women have federal student loan debt,” explain Momentive researchers. About 24% of Black adults say they have federal student loan debt, compared to 15% of Hispanic, 14% of White, and 11% of Asian adults. 
    Women (19%) are also more likely than men (11%) to have student loan debt, and this trend can be seen across races. In fact, the survey results suggest that 11% of white men, 17% of white women, 15% of Black men, 31% of Black women, 10% of Hispanic men and 19% of Hispanic women have student debt.  

    Arrows pointing outwards

    The Brookings Institution estimates that on average, Black college graduates owe $52,726 in student debt while white college grads owe closer to $28,006. 
    And the Urban Institute reports that among borrowers between the ages of 25 and 55 who took on college debt to finance their own undergraduate degree, Black borrowers owe $32,047 on average, while white and Hispanic borrowers owe roughly $18,685 and 15,853, respectively.
    Making clear who is most impacted by student debt is a crucial part of the student debt, and especially student debt forgiveness, conversation, says Smith. 
    “Do you deserve to have some sort of assistance with going to school? That’s really the conversation about student loan forgiveness. Because when you hear objections to it, it has to do with, ‘Well, what about all these rich kids who are going to school to be doctors and lawyers? You know, do we subsidize their education, and they come out to be millionaires?” she says, referencing comments by people such as President Joe Biden, who said he would not forgive up to $50,000 of federal student debt because it would benefit “people who have gone to Harvard and Yale and Penn.”
    “We end up driving the conversation by the tail end of the distribution,” explains Smith. “We’re having a conversation about the exceptions to the rule.”
    Braxton Brewington, press secretary for The Debt Collective, a union organization that represents student debt holders, says this “misconception” about what groups are more impacted by student debt is often used “to justify someone’s opposition to cancellation.”
    “Student loan borrowers look like — and are as broad as — the working class itself,” he says. 
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    Cramer says investors should not rush to buy or sell outside of regular trading hours. Here's why

    CNBC’s Jim Cramer cautioned investors against rushing to empty or beef up their portfolios as storms continue to rage across the market.
    “Why are people so desperate to sell at 1 a.m.? What do they know? And the answer is nothing,” he said.
    Cramer said Thursday on “Squawk Box” that any hysteria over the Fed’s decision should be taken with a grain of salt. Some of the trading action is being conducted by algorithmic traders who are “not distinguishing between good and bad” stocks, he said.

    CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Thursday cautioned investors against rushing to empty or beef up their portfolios based on movements outside of normal U.S. trading hours.
    “Don’t pay attention to what the futures [are] doing. Pay attention to what you like,” Cramer said on “Squawk Box,” before stocks opened higher Thursday. “We have a lot of stocks that, literally, you can get them for far lower than they should [be] because the machines are obliterating them.”

    The “Mad Money” host has previously ridiculed those he calls “pajama traders” for influencing premarket sentiment as they trade futures contracts, often based on headlines and algorithms. His comments Thursday came as U.S. equity futures pointed to a positive open at the 9:30 a.m. ET opening bell. However, futures had been down sharply at one point in overnight trading.
    “Why are people so desperate to sell at 1 a.m.? What do they know?” Cramer asked rhetorically. “The answer is nothing,” he contended.
    The stock market’s recent volatility comes as Wall Street closely monitors the Federal Reserve, which is in the process of pulling back some of the highly accommodative monetary policy support it implemented nearly two years ago at the start of the Covid pandemic.
    On Wednesday, the U.S. central bank signaled an interest rate increase is likely coming in March amid already unstable markets and surging inflation. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed around 130 points lower on Wednesday following Fed chief Jerome Powell’s comments on the Fed’s January meeting after it had been in the green earlier in the day.
    The 30-stock Dow rose 0.7% on midday Thursday on the heels of a fourth-quarter U.S. GDP report that exceeded analyst expectations. The S&P 500 increased 0.4%, and the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1%.

    Once again criticizing what he calls robot-generated headlines, Cramer said Thursday he believes any market hysteria over the Fed’s actions should be taken with a grain of salt because some of the trading action is being conducted by algorithmic traders who are “not distinguishing between good and bad” stocks.
    “They’re just selling everything,” Cramer said, urging people to “not pay up” for their favored companies at this moment.
    “I think there’s a lot of people who are trying to buy something well above where the sellers are willing to sell, because they’re automatic,” Cramer said. “The sell programs are overrunning the buy.”
    “It doesn’t mean that stocks are bad; it just means you should be a little bit more prudent and don’t bid so close,” he continued.

    — Sign up now for the CNBC Investing Club to follow Jim Cramer’s every move in the market.

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    Plan now to avoid a tax bomb later. Why your asset location matters

    Advice and the Advisor

    Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned investor, you need to consider asset location, as income in some accounts can trigger a surprise tax bill.
    Generally, assets that create income may be best for a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account, rather than a taxable brokerage account.

    Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned investor, you need to consider asset location, as income in some accounts can trigger a surprise tax bill.
    While your 401(k) plan or individual retirement account may shield you from yearly investment income, such as dividends or capital gains, your brokerage account is taxable, meaning you may owe levies on annual activity. 

    “I definitely take that into consideration when I’m designing portfolios for clients,” said JoAnn May, a certified financial planner and CPA with Forest Asset Management in Berwyn, Illinois. “I always keep the taxability of assets in mind when strategizing where things are going to go.”
    More from Advice and the Advisor:Be sure to keep your will or estate plan updatedWhat happens if you don’t disclose crypto activity this tax seasonHere’s how to get a faster refund
    If you have three types of accounts — brokerage, tax-deferred and tax-free — it’s easier to pick the best spot for each asset, May said. 
    Since bonds may have less growth but distribute income, they may be suitable for tax-deferred accounts, like your 401(k) plan, she said, and investments most likely to appreciate may be ideal for tax-free accounts, like a Roth IRA.
    However, if you don’t have the three account options, there may be other opportunities for tax efficiency, May said.

    For example, if you have a large enough bond portfolio, you may have to put some assets in a brokerage account. But depending on your income, you may consider municipal bonds, she suggested, which generally avoid federal levies and possibly state and local taxes on interest. 
    Other assets to avoid in a brokerage account are real estate investment trusts, or REITs, which must distribute 90% of taxable income to shareholders, said Mike Piper, a CPA at the firm in his name in St. Louis.
    “If you have to have [funds] in taxable accounts, you want to make sure it’s generally something with low turnover,” he said.
    Exchange-traded funds or index funds generally spit off less income than actively-managed mutual funds, which typically have year-end payouts.

    All-in-one fund risks

    Another investment that’s better suited in tax-deferred or tax-free accounts is all-in-one funds, which attempt to create a whole portfolio, such as target-date funds, an age-based retirement asset.   
    Since all-in-one funds contain different types of assets, there’s no ability to put certain portions, such as bonds spitting off income, into a more tax-efficient spot, Piper explained.  
    These investments also limit your ability to use tax-loss harvesting, or sell assets at a loss to offset gains, because you can’t change the underlying holdings, he said. 
    For example, let’s say your all-in-one fund has U.S. stocks, international stocks and bond funds. If there’s a dip in domestic stocks, you can’t harvest those losses by selling only that portion, whereas you may have that choice if you own each fund individually.
    You may also see excess turnover from the underlying funds, creating capital gains that may be taxed at regular income rates, depending on the length of ownership.   
    “They’re really just not a great fit for taxable accounts,” Piper added. More