Ilana Polyak, NBR, CNBC.com’s Posts

By most measures, the economy has improved. With a current unemployment rate of 5.0 percent — down from 10 percent in October 2009 — the job market is the lowest it’s been since it bottomed at 4.9 percent in February 2008. Yet even though the employment market is better, job losses still happen, particularly in …

There have been rumblings for years from the Federal Reserve that interest rates are going to rise. But so far that hasn’t quelled homebuying activity. Median existing single-family homes clocked in at $229,400 in the second quarter of 2015, up from $177,000 in 2012, a rise of more than 29 percent. In some markets, such …

Rebalancing — the constant portfolio monitoring that restores asset classes to their target allocations by selling assets that have appreciated and adding to those that have declined — is at its core a risk-minimizing strategy.

The standard advice from financial advisors to 20-somethings is to invest as much as they can in stocks—regardless of periodic market swings, however wild, like those seen over the past few days—and watch long-term compounding do its magic for the next 40-plus years. But millennials, the 80-million-strong generation born between 1980 and 2000, don’t seem …

Investors aren’t keen on surprises, especially when they’re getting out their checkbooks to write a series of very large checks for their children’s college education. Right when you’d rather be helping your child pick out pillows and comforters for the college dorm is not the time to find out that your 529 college savings account …

Financial advisors are facing two dueling forces: They desperately want to attract millennials to replace their aging stable of clients, but clients with low account balances—which many young investors happen to be—are unprofitable. Not surprisingly, just 16 percent of millennials say they work with a financial advisor, about half the rate that baby boomers do, …

At the end of a long career, most corporate employees can expect some sort of sendoff—perhaps a Costco sheet cake in the conference room as their colleagues gather around for several rounds of “For (S)He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” When you call yourself boss, though, retiring is a lonelier affair, as is saving for retirement. …

It’s natural for parents to want to help and support their children. But should that help continue well into adulthood? By helping too much, parents run the risk of imperiling their own financial future and creating dependence. “The reality is that you are not doing the adult kids any favors at all by always bailing …

Accountants and financial advisors may be breathing a sigh of relief that there were no major new tax-law changes this year, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy about the higher taxes their clients are paying now compared to just a few years ago. “Some clients whose situation did not change at all paid $6,000 or …

If you’re in the market for a financial advisor, you probably got a referral or two from friends or family. Yet even if advisors come highly recommended, you’ll still want to do your own research and find out who they are and how they work. Don’t feel sheepish about scheduling an appointment to get your …

It’s no secret that college costs continue to rise, pricing more and more families out of their top choice of schools. According to College Board, one year at an average private college costs $40,917 for tuition, fees, room and board for the 2013-14 school year—3.7 percent more than the year before. The cost of a …

The death of a spouse is probably one of the worst things most people endure. Unfortunately, there is a torrent of financial tasks that accompanies that event. Women, who are far and away most likely to end up widowed, must also contend with how to manage a portfolio for one. But interference from the grave …

Retirement promises time for leisure and escape. For many, that means packing up and moving, perhaps somewhere warm and near plentiful recreational activities. “You want to go when you’re young enough so that you can enjoy these activities,” said Nancy Anderson, a certified financial planner in Park City, Utah. And if you can get it …

Active managers have found a way to make exchange-traded funds—so-called ETF strategist funds—their friends. ETF strategists are active managers who design their own asset allocation models but have to make their market bets with at least 50 percent of holdings in ETFs, according to Morningstar’s widely accepted definition. They are the only investment products growing …

The couple, in their 60s, always made a statement when they came into Sarah Carlson Rieger’s Spokane, Wash., office: The woman was dressed to the nines—”right out of Nordstrom,” said Rieger—and her husband always brought gifts. “But these were people who, if you peeled back the layers, you saw they were unprepared for retirement,” said …