March 2013

28 Mar

The Treasury Plan to Issue Floating Rate Notes

What are FRNs, and why is the government moving to offer them?

Floating rate notes are nothing new — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have issued them for years, along with foreign banks and some corporations. What is new is the U.S. Treasury's move to offer these bonds. It plans to do so by Q1 2014.1

As the term implies, the yield on a floating rate note adjusts with movements of a benchmark interest rate. Since many types of Treasury bonds have fixed interest payments until maturity, this makes a Treasury-issued FRN an attractive prospect. In their absence, investors are buying fixed-rate Treasuries and using the swaps market to convert them into floating-rate debt.2

28 Mar

A Primer for Estate Planning

Things to check and double-check before you leave this world.

Estate planning is a task that people tend to put off, as any discussion of "the end" tends to be off-putting. However, those who leave this world without their financial affairs in good order risk leaving their heirs some significant problems along with their legacies.

No matter what your age, here are some things you may want to accomplish this year with regard to estate planning.

27 Mar

How and When to Sign Up for Medicare

Breaking down the enrollment periods and eligibility.

Medicare enrollment is automatic for some of us. If you are age 65 and eligible to receive Social Security benefits (or married to someone eligible to receive them), then you are also automatically eligible for Medicare Part A (free hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance for which you pay premiums), a.k.a. “original Medicare.”1

If this is the case, then you'll get a red-white-and-blue Medicare card in the mail three months before your 65th birthday.2