12 Things to Be Thankful for in 2019

12 Things to Be Thankful for in 2019

If you're a glass-half-empty kind of person, there are plenty of dispiriting headlines these days -- from the U.S.-China trade war to partisan feuding over impeachment proceedings -- that could ruin your holiday cheer.

Here at Kiplinger, we're more optimistic. We'd prefer to raise that half-full glass and make a toast to any of a number of important things going right in the world today. We've rounded up 12 developments, economic and otherwise, that reveal brighter days ahead in 2020. Take a look.

SEE ALSO: The 7 Best Bond Funds for Retirement Savers in 2020

Read more: https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/business/T019-S001-12-things-to-be-thankful-for-in-2019/index.html

The 10 Best REITs to Buy for 2020

The 10 Best REITs to Buy for 2020

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) - companies that invest in a variety of properties, from office buildings to apartments and self-storage buildings - built big gains in 2019.

A prominent REIT gauge, the FTSE Nareit All Equity REIT Index, gained 25.4% through Nov. 21 (including dividends), with many of the best REITs doing far better. In contrast, the small-cap Russell 2000 Index (used for comparison because the majority of REITs are smaller companies) has gained 18.9%.

Of course, people don't ordinarily invest in REITs to beat the stock market averages. They invest in them for income. By law, REITs must pay out at least 90% of their net earnings as dividends. The average REIT in the FTSE index delivers a dividend yield of 3.6%, compared with 1.8% for both the bellwether 10-year Treasury note and the S&P 500. When the yield of bonds and stocks are so low, REITs become extremely popular.

Real estate also provides diversification. While REITs are still stocks, they don't always move in the same direction as the broad market. And their above-average dividend yields are a nice shelter in a downturn.

While you can invest in a real estate fund, such as the Vanguard Real Estate ETF (VNQ), there are plenty of good individual REITs to buy, many of which offer high yields and reasonable valuations, despite the sector's towering heights this year. "REITs are not a homogenous group," says Chris Kuiper, equity analyst at CFRA Research. In just the past year, REITs have a performance difference of 160 percentage points.

Which ones have the top prospects for the future? Read on as we examine the 10 best REITs to buy for 2020.

SEE ALSO: 20 Dividend Stocks to Fund 20 Years of Retirement

Read more: https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/investing/T044-S001-the-10-best-reits-to-buy-for-2020/index.html

16 Best Amazon Prime Perks for the Holidays

16 Best Amazon Prime Perks for the Holidays

One-day shipping is going to be the tactic of choice in the holiday shopping game this year, and there's no retailer better equipped at its efficiencies than the world's biggest online retailer, Amazon. But as you're doing your comparison shopping for all those gifts you have to buy, remember this comes at a price: $119 a year for Prime membership.

So let's do the factoring. Sure, we'll get some great gifts at great prices and in double-quick time with Amazon Prime. What other Prime perks make it worth the cost of membership for the 100 million or so Primers worldwide? We found a few.

SEE ALSO: 18 Worst Things to Buy During the Holidays

Read more: https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/spending/T062-S001-16-best-amazon-prime-perks-for-the-holidays-2019/index.html

18 Worst Things to Buy During the Holidays

18 Worst Things to Buy During the Holidays

It's all too easy to get caught up in the holiday shopping frenzy. Stores are blaring your favorite holiday tunes. Santa is camped out near the food court with a long line of kids waiting to take a photo. And retailers are trying their hardest to get you to spend by offering exclusive deals.

In fact, 165.3 million consumers are expected to shop in-store and online over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend alone, according to the National Retail Federation's Annual November Holiday Consumer Survey. The big draw? Deals too good to pass up on dozens of hot-ticket items, from TVs and smart home devices to digital cameras and kitchen appliances. However, die-hard bargain hunters know that if you plan ahead you can find even better deals on many of those same products at other times of the year.

Enlisting the help of several shopping experts, we identified 18 product categories that holiday shoppers should steer clear of, because they'll either be available for much less after the holidays or there's a strong chance the product might go unused. Take a look at the list of some of the worst things to buy during the holidays.

SEE ALSO: 17 Best Costco Kirkland Products for the Holidays

Read more: https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/spending/T050-S001-worst-things-to-buy-during-the-holidays-2019/index.html

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