Sandra Block

Sandra Block

Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.

Get the Most from the Expanded Child Tax Credit
photo illustration of a happy family
Tax Breaks

Get the Most from the Expanded Child Tax Credit

The latest government stimulus is a much-more generous child tax credit, with a new twist: The IRS is going to send you money each month, if you're el…
July 15, 2021
33 States with No Estate Taxes or Inheritance Taxes
A view of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado with the mountains reflected in a small lake
retirement

33 States with No Estate Taxes or Inheritance Taxes

Even with the federal exemption from death taxes raised, retirees should pay more attention to estate taxes and inheritance taxes levied by states.
July 6, 2021
The 10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Military Retirees
picture of dog tags and military patches
retirement

The 10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Military Retirees

Unfortunately, some states aren't very generous when it comes to helping retired veterans at tax time.
July 6, 2021
How to Get a Car Deal in a Crazy Market with Karl Brauer
photo illustration of car buying
Buying & Leasing a Car

How to Get a Car Deal in a Crazy Market with Karl Brauer

As used car values soar, the old rules of how to get the best price still hold. Also, in the stock market, value stocks pull a rotation move on growth…
July 2, 2021
Smart Ways to Handle an Inheritance
picture of a piece of paper with "inheritance" written on it laying of fanned out one-hundred dollar bills
inheritance

Smart Ways to Handle an Inheritance

A bequest could change your life, but don’t quit your day job.
June 30, 2021
9 States with No Income Tax
Barn with American flag imagery.
Tax Breaks

9 States with No Income Tax

If you choose to live in these states, every penny you earn is safe from state income tax (although one state taxes some dividends and interest). But …
June 30, 2021
13 States That Tax Social Security Benefits
Map of U.S. with U.S. flag design
social security

13 States That Tax Social Security Benefits

You may have dreamed of a tax-free retirement, but if you live in these 13 states, your Social Security benefits are subject to a state tax. That's on…
June 25, 2021
IRS Plans to Track Down Tax Cheats
drawing of Uncle Sam with a flashlight looking for a tax cheat hiding behind money
taxes

IRS Plans to Track Down Tax Cheats

The proposal targets high-income taxpayers, but enforcement wouldn’t be limited to the top 1%.
June 24, 2021
10 States With the Highest Sales Taxes
Counting money.
Tax Breaks

10 States With the Highest Sales Taxes

Before you embark on a shopping spree in any of the 10 worst states for sales taxes, make extra room in your budget.
June 23, 2021
The Inflation Spike Probably Won't Last
photo illustration of Jim Paulsen
Economic Forecasts

The Inflation Spike Probably Won't Last

Long-term demographic and economic trends will keep a lid on future price hikes.
June 22, 2021
Rates on Student Loans Will Go Up
photo illustration of money and graduation cap
Paying for College

Rates on Student Loans Will Go Up

You could refinance with a private student loan, but consider waiting until the pause on federal loan payments expires.
June 22, 2021
18 States With Scary Death Taxes
Grim Reaper in a fog-covered cemetery
inheritance

18 States With Scary Death Taxes

Federal estate taxes are no longer a problem for all but the extremely wealthy, but several states have their own estate taxes and inheritance taxes t…
June 17, 2021
Invest in a Roth 401(k) If You Can
A person sitting at a desk, holding a pen, with a calculator, piggy bank and a stack of coins
401(k)s

Invest in a Roth 401(k) If You Can

Workers of all ages can benefit from stashing away after-tax money now in exchange for tax-free withdrawals in the future.
June 11, 2021
Perils and Profits of Cannabis Investing with Matt Hawkins
Becoming an Investor

Perils and Profits of Cannabis Investing with Matt Hawkins

A rapidly evolving legal landscape is keeping cannabis investors on their toes. We talk to private-equity investor Matt Hawkins, who has long experien…
June 2, 2021
Your Retirement Planning Checklist
Illustration of people planning retirement
Financial Planning

Your Retirement Planning Checklist

Whether the day you stop working is a decade away or around the corner, these to-do items will help you retire on your own terms.
May 26, 2021
As America Ages, Hard Questions Loom
photo illustration of an old lady liberty
Economic Forecasts

As America Ages, Hard Questions Loom

Census data show a decline in younger workers. That puts more pressure on Social Security and other programs that support seniors.
May 24, 2021
Annuities: 10 Things You Must Know
A person puts a coin into a golden piggy bank.
annuities

Annuities: 10 Things You Must Know

Not all annuities are alike, and some may not be appropriate for you. How much do you know about these investment products?
May 21, 2021
8 Money-Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund
picture of refund line on a tax form
Tax Breaks

8 Money-Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

Since this year's tax deadline was pushed back to May 17, many people just recently filed their tax return. That means there are a lot of tax refunds …
May 21, 2021
Is Your Home Insured Against Disaster? Better Check
photo illustration of hurricane damage
Becoming a Homeowner

Is Your Home Insured Against Disaster? Better Check

Your insurance policy might leave you high and dry when things get wet (or hot, or shaky). We'll talk about making sure you're fully covered. Also, in…
May 18, 2021
Today is the Last Day to Fund Your IRA and Cut Your Taxes
picture of a jar with "IRA" written on it and money in it
Tax Breaks

Today is the Last Day to Fund Your IRA and Cut Your Taxes

Although you need to act quickly, you still have a few hours to make a 2020 IRA contribution and lower your tax bill.
May 17, 2021
Tax Tips for Last-Minute Filing
picture of woman stressed out by taxes
tax deadline

Tax Tips for Last-Minute Filing

As you scramble to beat today's tax return filing deadline, here are some pointers to bring your stress level down.
May 17, 2021
Updated Exclusive Social Security Benefits Forecast: COLA Likely to Jump to 4.5% in 2022
A stack of Social Security cards
Economic Forecasts

Updated Exclusive Social Security Benefits Forecast: COLA Likely to Jump to 4.5% in 2022

This would be the largest cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits since 2008.
May 12, 2021
Tap the Money Tied Up in Your Home with Keith Gumbinger
photo illustration money home
Markets

Tap the Money Tied Up in Your Home with Keith Gumbinger

Housing prices have been on a tear, and that means home equity is up, too. Turning that value into cash in your wallet can be complicated, though. Equ…
May 12, 2021
Annuities: How They Could Work for You
Young woman having a business meeting with an executive in his office, he is pointing on a contract and giving explanations
Financial Planning

Annuities: How They Could Work for You

No doubt, investing in annuities can be a tough call for the active investor. But there comes a time when relinquishing some control in exchange for r…
May 6, 2021
Estate-Planning Your Stuff with T. Eric Reich
photo of old china service
Empty Nesters

Estate-Planning Your Stuff with T. Eric Reich

What to do with the house, the vacation house and the china? We talk with a financial adviser who's got some wise counsel. Also, who makes up the so-c…
May 2, 2021
The Benefits of Working Longer
John Rouse feeding penguin at the Aquarium of the Pacific
Empty Nesters

The Benefits of Working Longer

Delaying retirement for a couple of years—or even a few months—is the most effective way to improve your retirement security.
April 29, 2021
Stimulus Plan Has Health Insurance Benefits, Too
Image of the Capitol Dome being removed and a man takes cash from it
Coronavirus and Your Money

Stimulus Plan Has Health Insurance Benefits, Too

The plan’s health care provisions could deliver big savings for early retirees and laid-off workers.
April 29, 2021