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David Muhlbaum: Every so often the stock market has a “Wait, what?” moment when things don’t go quite as expected. The most recent instance was wild trading in a relatively obscure stock called GameStop. Senior investing editor Kyle Woodley breaks down what happened and what it means to all of us. Also, General Motors says it’s going electric, basically. So will your next car be electric? That’s all coming up. Stick around.
David Muhlbaum: Welcome to Your Money’s Worth. I’m senior online editor David Mulbown, joined by my co-host, senior editor, Sandy Block. Sandy, how are you doing?
Sandy Block: I’m good. The groundhog saw his shadow and that means we’re going to have six more weeks of winter, but also that 2021 will be better than 2020.
David Muhlbaum: Oh, Punxsutawney Phil, what’s his name, he’s been expanding his forecasting, huh?
Sandy Block: Yeh. Even that ritual has gone virtual. He’s on Instagram now.
David Muhlbaum: Do you remember when Bill de Blasio dropped the groundhog?
Sandy Block: What?
David Muhlbaum: Yeah, the mayor of New York. He dropped the groundhog. This was in 2014. The groundhog died, but not right away. There was a coverup.
Sandy Block: This sounds so New York. It’s sad. And funny.
David Muhlbaum: Yeah. I like groundhogs.
Sandy Block: Well, I do too, with onions and carrots usually. Remember where I’m from, folks.
David Muhlbaum: Yeah, put them in the Instant Pot!
Sandy Block: They’re a little tough; you need to cook them long enough. But okay. So since you’re the car guy around here, I wanted to ask you what you thought about General Motors’ announcement that they’re going to phase out selling gas and diesel vehicles by 2035.
David Muhlbaum: Oh, is that because they’re getting out of the car business? I mean, their market share has been declining for decades. I’m sorry. Dark joke. I mean, part of the reason this announcement got buzz is because General Motors has a lot of history in the American economy, and a significance that goes way beyond its current sales or market cap. You know who sells way more electric cars than they do and, whose stock is worth way more? Name starts with a T.
Sandy Block: Oh, I don’t need the T. It’s Tesla. And they only sell electric cars.
David Muhlbaum: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. In all honesty, Sandy, I don’t like talking about electric cars all that much or writing about them. It’s stressful and it attracts hate mail. As for GM’s announcement, color me cynical. 14 years is a long time. Even in car development cycles. The problem with electric cars, or maybe it’s just the problem with writing about electric cars, is that on one hand, they’re clearly the future. Their carbon footprint is much lighter than internal combustion vehicles. They also accelerate like a startled cat. They are fun. The problem, is they’re the future, they’re not the now. Electric cars, it’s still a tiny percentage of new car sales, like 2%. And the bulk of those are darn expensive Teslas. So when does the future become now? When is an electric car, just a car? That’s one of those things I’m extremely loathe to predict.
Sandy Block: You know, EV haters gonna hate, and I see you’re a little touchy about this, but you did just write an article for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, about electrics, which you gave a very Kiplinger spin. It’s about saving money with an electric car. And I think that you can, right?
David Muhlbaum: Yeah, you can. I did my best to get past the politics of the things and yeah, you can save money with an electric car and come on, who doesn’t like saving money. Can we agree on that please?
Sandy Block: Everybody likes to save money, David.
David Muhlbaum: Okay. Thank you. So yeah, you can save money with an electric car. The main way is because they have a lower cost per mile to operate, mainly because it takes less energy to get an electric car a given distance than one that’s gas powered, but also because they cost less to maintain. Consumer Reports has some solid numbers on this. The hitch is this: electric cars cost more than their rough gas-car equivalents. So basically you have to find one that’s cheap enough that you can recoup the higher upfront costs with the per mile savings in a reasonable time. This takes calculators and spreadsheets, and it’s not easy with $2 gas.
Sandy Block: Okay, but I’m putting on my tax hat now and reminding you, David, that there is a very generous federal tax credit up to $7,500, dollar for dollar reduction in taxes, if you buy certain models of electric cars, right?
David Muhlbaum: Yeah, that’s true. I mean, $7,500 is big money but it comes as a tax credit. So it comes off your taxes, which is part of what makes it really weird. There’s not a line on the bill of sale that takes that $7,500 off. It comes off later, when you file your taxes ...
Sandy Block: You’ve got to go get it.
David Muhlbaum: It makes it weird. There are many things that make that tax credit weird, even if generous, one is that it’s linked to the manufacturer. So once the manufacturer sells X number of cars, it’s no longer available. And this has the perverse situation that when a manufacturer — and GM and Tesla are actually a couple of the ones who’ve done this — sells a lot of electric cars you don’t get the credit for them anymore. You want to get a credit? You have to go buy something that doesn’t sell.
Sandy Block: Right, like a Porsche
David Muhlbaum: Like a Porsche. Yeah.
Sandy Block: So when we were talking off mic, David, about whether it’s a good idea to lease or buy a used electric car, but you don’t get any tax credit for doing that. So why might that be a good idea?
David Muhlbaum: Well, okay. First of all, with leasing a new electric car. I mean, lease versus buy is one of those eternal debates in car buying. I think with electrics, it almost always makes more sense to lease. And you are correct that you, the individual, don’t get the tax credit if you lease. But the manufacturer or, essentially whatever leasing entity owns the car, they do. But they almost always pass it on to you in a discount or subsidization of the lease payment. So in a way you do, if the credit is available, you do get it upfront and you get it regardless of your own personal tax circumstances, which is another complication that we’re just going to breeze right by here. So that’s one reason to lease is that it makes the tax credit more accessible. Again, if it’s available.
David Muhlbaum: The other reason to lease is that electric car technology is changing quickly and all those issues of, “Oh my God, am I going to put up all this money upfront in a car whose value is very much tied into this battery whose technology I may or may not trust for the long run?" Well, you know what, if you don’t own it and you just lease it for three years, nevermind. However, and this, this discussion is full of howevers, but however, you have to keep in mind that you might not necessarily realize those cost savings of the more expensive electric car over that three-year lease. Again, it takes some spreadsheets to sort this all out.
Sandy Block: And finally, you mentioned used. I actually am in the market for a possible new used car because as we talked about a while ago, my car almost broke down out in the middle of nowhere. Why might I want to buy a used EV?
David Muhlbaum: Used electrics have depreciated massively. This is in part because technology advances quickly on electric cars and newer ones have more range. So again, we still have the question of don’t buy the car unless it’s something you can work with. If you’re in the situation where you need a secondary vehicle—
Sandy Block: Drive around town.
David Muhlbaum: To drive around town, that doesn’t have to go terribly far, that presumably you can recharge at home or at your office in a fairly convenient and low-cost fashion, electric cars can crush it. A used electric car can totally crush it on a per mile operating costs. I mean, just pennies. And like I said, you have to live with certain limitations, but if you can make those work for you, you can pay very little to operate an electric car, much less than a gas equivalent, even a well depreciated used car, which is what we tend to recommend to people.
David Muhlbaum: Coming up next on Your Money’s Worth: GameStop. What was that all about? Kyle Woodley, senior investing edito,r will help us understand.
David Muhlbaum: We’re back with Kyle Woodley, senior investing editor for kiplinger.com, to talk about the GameStop phenomenon that has roiled markets in the past week. You don’t have to be a trader yourself to find this interesting — many people have found it scary, in fact, one of those events that just shakes confidence in the system. Welcome Kyle.
Kyle Woodley: Hello. Hello.
David Muhlbaum: As Kyle knows, because I sometimes edit bits of his content. I missed the early phases of this drama. Last week. I was literally in the desert living in a camper van, largely off the grid. In fact, it was my daughter who piped up once we were finally in range of a cell tower to say, “Dad, there’s something going on with the stock market.” So, yeah, I came back into what has been a wild time for market watchers. I mean, I think Michael Lewis has this next book here, what, with the hedge funds involved and these characters with names I can’t say out loud on a family podcast. It’s got generational drama, all kinds of stuff. And, it’s still unfolding.
David Muhlbaum: But at the same time, Sandy and I, well, we’ve seen a few market crises come and go before. And, and one of my challenges to Kyle has been for him to tell people who follow the buy and hold pick good stocks, Buffett-esque investment guidance that we preach here at Kiplinger asking him, why should we care about the explosion or the implosion or whatever of this smallish possibly failing video game business with a book value in the tens of millions. But before we even get to that, Kyle, please in three sentences, perhaps if other people have been in the desert or not paying attention as closely as you, what the H-E double hockey sticks is going on here?
Kyle Woodley: This is the oversimplified, I’d stress, oversimplified short version: A group of traders, some savvy, some less experienced, belonging to a community on a social app called Reddit, orchestrated a move to squeeze the stock higher. They piled into a few stocks, including GameStop, that’s ticker GME, that a lot of Wall Street was betting would fall. And that triggered a cycle of buying that made the early purchasers massive gains. And it also punished a lot of bearish traders along the way. But this also ended up messing with some market mechanics, and several brokerages even had to go so far as limiting trades on some stocks.
Sandy Block: So speaking of bets, it’s probably a safe bet that there are more of our listeners who don’t own GameStop and may not have ever even seen a GameStop or any of these other so-called meme stocks, at least not directly in the sense of, “I own a hundred shares of GME.” Mutual funds are the name of the game for most people, but a lot of those people are really scared and concerned anyway. I literally got an email from a family member asking me if she should sell out of mutual funds in her 401(k) plan, because of all the hubbub over GameStop.
Kyle Woodley: That’s a pretty easy question to answer, which is to tell them “No, don’t!” But I do understand the concern. There’s a big difference between caring and worrying. Should most investors care? Yes. Should they worry? No. But let’s start out with that pretty big group, people with 401(k)s, like Sandy’s example, and we can lump them together with other long-time long-term investors who mostly own diverse funds and big blue-chip stocks.
David Muhlbaum: The sort of investments that we recommend as the core of most people’s portfolios. You’ve heard it before. You’ll probably hear it here again.
Kyle Woodley: Bingo. Bango. Clearly, if you weren’t invested directly in say GameStop or these other Reddit stocks, you weren’t dealing with like 30%, 40% swings in your portfolio. Very few funds actually owned large positions in these stocks. A couple did. There’s the Wedbush ETFMG Video Game Tech ETF, ticker GAMR. That’s a smaller thematic ETF that held quite a bit in GameStop, but you won’t find all of that in your 401(k) and most retail investors that hold it, they probably have the sense to not put all of their money in it.
Kyle Woodley: But still, the GameStop drama affected just about everyone who’s a stock investor in some way. On January 27th, I think it was the volatility from these meme stocks and to a certain extent, certain institutional investors’ exposure to those stocks, caused a lot of pros to reduce risk. Reducing risk is a fun way of saying, sell all their stocks. And that likely contributed to the draw down we saw that day. Fortunately, this sort of butterfly effect appears to be pretty short lived, but it was there. Also, realize that all the money flowing into the Reddit stocks didn’t come out of thin air. Some of it likely was pulled from other potentially larger momentum plays, which would have weighed on their share prices and thus any indexes that they belong to.
Sandy Block: So, anyone who was just sort of cruising the internet headlines on that particular day and panicked and sold all their 401(k) shares, they wouldn’t have been affected by all this because stock prices were lower during that drama, right? Let me put it another way, when this year is over and we see how the big indices did, is GameStop going to have any impact on those numbers?
Kyle Woodley: You know? I don’t think so. What’s interesting is, at its peak, GameStop was actually larger than about half of the S&P 500’s components, but it’s not in the S&P 500 or the Dow or the NASDAQ, so it’s not contributing to those. And with this whole frenzy dying out, I don’t think it has a meaningful effect on the major indices longer-term either, from a volatility standpoint or anything like that. I should point out that GameStop is in the small-cap Russell 2000 index, and it even became its largest component. At one point how much it ends up moving that index remains to be seen. But if the squeeze continues to just fizzle out, it will likely have a minimal impact on its year-end finish.
David Muhlbaum: Okay. So if the ultimate impact on stocks writ large is probably not much, then who does the game drama affect? I mean, certainly the players. So tell us a little bit about the who of this story.
Kyle Woodley: One thing to keep in mind is that a good chunk of the players involved are relatively new to stock investing. In many cases, they were using newer trading platforms like RobinHood and Public, which have really taken mobile investing to the next step. So there is a generational component to this. A lot of new investors have joined the fold over the past year, whether it was joining in 2020’s big dip, or getting excited over this latest Reddit rush. They’re not all young, but many are.
Sandy Block: So, okay, wait. So, using the phone, I can just sign up and trade stocks on margin whenever I feel like it? What happened to all the qualified investor restrictions and that sort of thing to, you know, save people from themselves?
Kyle Woodley: Well, so enough people can trade enough money including on margin to the point that it matters. Like a lot. That’s how we got here. But I think the biggest element here that sets the past few weeks apart from short squeezes of the past, think Piggly Wiggly, Volkswagen, just Hertz last year, is the social media component. Essentially, people teamed up using Reddit. As I mentioned earlier, the community involved was called Wall Street Bets or WSB. It’s a pretty colorful place.
David Muhlbaum: They use swear words, don’t they?
Kyle Woodley: They do. But I mean, so do some of your favorite baseball players, you know? That said some of their messaging is actually pretty crude and tasteless, but they make four-figure, five-figure option trades, or if you’d like, bets. And there were thousands of them. Multiply that and you start to tack on some dollar figures with a lot of zeros behind them.
David Muhlbaum: Yeah. Enough zeros to, to go up against the hedge funds, the smart money, the man.
Kyle Woodley: Ah, yes. The man. Sticking it to the man. That expression is older than you are, man. But yeah that’s wholly part of the narrative today, but let’s back up real quick and explain the situation a little first and talk about GameStop itself. GameStop, by the way, is a retailer that sells and resells video games. They’re usually found in strip malls.
Sandy Block: Okay. I don’t play video games, I read books, but as I understand it, people download games right now. I mean, this sounds like the last Blockbuster.
Kyle Woodley: What is this book you speak of? What is a book?
Sandy Block: You can download that, too.
Kyle Woodley: So, one of the longer-term theses out there is that they’re doomed and maybe, maybe not, but that was a lot of Wall Street’s thought. And so there were a number of large hedge funds that shorted GameStop shares. That is they borrowed shares from other people and then immediately turned around and sold them on the assumption that later on they’d be able to buy shares for less and replace the ones they borrowed pocketing the profit in between. Whoever loans the shares, they get a fee for their services; they collect interest. And whoever actually makes the trade can make a lot of money this way. Or, they can lose their shirt. Also, that’s a very reductive explanation of short selling, which is a trading process that confuses a lot of people. So I’m going to refer people to a story we put up on kiplinger.com by Dan Burrows that does a good breakdown of what actually went down here. It’s called GameStop: How WSB Beat Hedge Funds at their Own Game. And David, you’re going to throw a link into that, right?
David Muhlbaum: That’s right. You don’t have to memorize what Kyle just said. There’s going to be a link in the show notes and the transcript. You bet. So, back to the little guys and the big guys.
Kyle Woodley: Yep. Actually real quick, let’s clarify something here. The little guys, not necessarily so little. One of the big narratives of all this was that there was this group of average Joes going out and sticking it to the man, as we discussed. That’s easy to get behind. Big money carries all the advantages on Wall Street. Everyone hates that the banks were bailed out in 2008, 2009. And it’s so many of the people responsible for that mess, they didn’t really face any consequences. That resonates with people. No doubt about it, but let’s not pretend that this was just some rogue group of nobody’s just out to ruin Melvin Capital. That was one of the hedge funds that was shorting GameStop. The guy over at WallStreetBets who helped orchestrate all this, who goes as “Roaring Kitty,” as well as another alias that would get bleeped out here is a financial advisor. Some of these people were actually really savvy traders and they knew that they could make serious money triggering this epic short squeeze. There’s nothing wrong with that, but like, let’s call a spade a spade.
David Muhlbaum: That’s interesting. So, I mean, it’s maybe not really a David-Goliath angle. The questions of who the winners or losers are, is interesting. And so who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?
Kyle Woodley: So, okay, the past two weeks or so, they’ve simultaneously been one of my favorite periods of covering the markets and one of the most infuriating, maddening, perplexing. It was fascinating to cover ourselves. I also geeked out reading some of the other great coverage of this saga, people like Dave Nadig, Eric Balchunas, Lily Francus. They did some of the best work I’ve seen just laying everything out on Twitter.
Kyle Woodley: The difficult thing has been watching people loudly weigh in on every aspect in black and white terms, whether that’s misunderstanding some of the market mechanics, conspiracy theories about RobinHood, even who the supposed heroes and villains of this story are. There are too many hot takes on what is a complex, nuanced moment in time. One that sort of set the stage for the next few decades for a whole lot of people. And I’m thinking specifically about the new traders who joined the game recently, maybe this was their first rodeo, a few of them, freshly minted millionaires, well money talks, and probably doesn’t want to hear from us. So if you want to spread the love around, I’ll shoot you my Venmo.
David Muhlbaum: Yeah. I mean, part of the reason for that drama and those hot takes is because the internet’s a player in this and the same sort of fractious discussion that we’ve had politically is playing out here in stock trading as well. But that’s just one thought the other is that I’m guessing that the new millionaires, they’re the exception to the outcomes. I don’t think I’m really going out on a limb there.
Kyle Woodley: Precisely. The two subgroups of the newer traders that we really need to address are those that did OK; maybe some big gains, but with small money, maybe small gains, but they got enough of a taste to get interested. And then, there are the people who didn’t do OK — at all. I’m thrilled for the former group, they whetted their appetite for investing. Now they want to learn more. A few of my friends actually fall in this group. And so I’ve spent the past couple of weeks fielding a bunch of their questions. And not things like, “Hey, will GameStop go to the moon?” But “How do I know if a company is actually a good value? and “What is a diversified portfolio?” and “How do you even make it diversified?”
Kyle Woodley: If you’re in this group, if you’re suddenly hungry to invest and you just want to learn as much as possible, welcome to the club. Seriously, like I’m excited that you’re excited! Learn as much as you can. Kiplinger, whether it’s the mag, the website, our income product, whatever, we can help there. Brokerage education centers, another great place where you can log some serious hours and get some serious knowledge. Doubling your money in a day is not common, all right? This is all really weird. But you can grow your wealth in the stock market over time. So just stick with it, like we’ll help. Let’s go ahead and do this.
Kyle Woodley: The latter group, the ones that didn’t do OK, they were abandoned at sea and this is where the whole WallStreetBets story just goes sour. So you have a bunch of people who saw all their buddies, or even just random people on the internet, getting rich. And not only was the WallStreetBets crowd screaming for these new traders to buy and shoot GameStop to the moon. And for that matter, a big rallying cry of this whole movement was to hodl or H-O-D-L, that’s an acronym. They’re saying "hold on for dear life." But some extraordinarily high-profile venture capitalists, CEOs, other big financial names, they were egging these guys on too
Kyle Woodley: So the new investors, they finally caved and they threw some money at GameStop or AMC Entertainment or whatever. And they did so at the peak. And then they saw a third of their money, half of their money, whatever disappeared, very literally overnight. Those venture capitalists and CEOs, by the way, suddenly real quiet about GameStop. And while WallStreetBets got all this credit for making millionaires, where’s the finger pointing over the nasty side effect of what was, legal though it might’ve been, stock manipulation? Meanwhile, these people that got fleeced, these are people that might never come back. Think about the Depression or the Great Recession when people said, “Screw banks, I’m putting the cash under the mattress.” These are people that might never look at the stock market the same way; might never engage with it again. That could hobble them financially down the road.
Sandy Block: Well, that’s mighty generous of you, Kyle, I imagine there were more than a few people, people who have "diamond hands" in their S&P 500 index funds, and they’re listening to this tale and they think, “Well, them's the risks you take, cowboy. Like, this is speculation, not investing. If you’re going to play the game, you might lose. Suck it up!”
Kyle Woodley: So caveat emptor and all that, right? But that’s knowledge that comes with education or experience. And a lot of these people didn’t have either. I know what they were doing was far more speculation than investing. I get that. But like, I still can’t help feeling bad for them. They got swept up into a frenzy by a lot of people who claimed to know what they were doing. The best thing I can say to those people is eventually, give it another try, but do it “the right way.” That doesn’t mean never taking a moonshot. That doesn’t mean just buying a single index fund and doing nothing else for the next five decades or whatever. But learn. And again, this is what we write about: how to build a diversified portfolio and know that you can actually set aside a little of that portfolio where you can take a couple of exciting bets with money that you can afford to lose.
David Muhlbaum: Yeah. I think, Kyle, that’s a very important balancing point. I mean, on one hand, we do have, and we do advocate and we do discuss a diversified portfolio that has, depending on your age and all the other variables that go into that, the appropriate conservative balance. But part of diversification involves having a chunk that is either more aggressive or even borders on the speculative because frankly, for a lot of people, that’s where the fun is. That’s where you put aside an amount of money that you can afford to lose and hey, maybe you will double it. It has to be within proportion.
David Muhlbaum: And of course, very glad that you mentioned all the wonderful, fine Kiplinger products that we have that provide guidance for that. But I also appreciate that sometimes, we can come off sounding a bit like killjoys. Playing the market is a legitimate thing to do for people who can compartmentalize the amount of money that they can do that with, and, you know, go forth and prosper!
Kyle Woodley: Right? And that’s something that’s going to change over time, too. Your ability to make, or whatever, your ability and willingness to take moonshots is going to look a lot different at 25 than it does at 35, than it does at 45, as various financial needs start popping up as you need to start saving towards things, and as you start to value security over gigantic gains. So that’s something that’s different for every person, but the thing that sort of weaves it all together is that staying engaged, it helps. I mean, it really is a psychological bonus. An index fund is great. It really is the best piece of advice to just get into an index fund and ride it forever. But it’s too boring for a lot of people. It doesn’t engage them.
Kyle Woodley: And I would rather a person become engaged by also holding a couple of exciting stocks that they like, have the index thing as a base, but just have a couple of stocks that they can follow. It keeps them checking in on their IRA or their brokerage account or whatever. And maybe you lose a half percentage point more in a year than you would have, but like, you at least got invested to an extent that you might not have before because you weren’t interested, because it was boring. Ultimately, you end up the winner because you decided to get in the game in the first place. So yeah, index funds? All well and good, but taking a few risks here and there isn’t necessarily bad.
David Muhlbaum: Awesome. Thank you so much, Kyle. This is always fun.
Kyle Woodley: Thank you. Have a great one.
David Muhlbaum: No lighter closing segment for you today, sorry. In fact, I’ve got to do some cleanup on an error we made a few weeks ago, when we had Catherine Siskos, the managing editor of Kiplinger’s retirement report on to talk about the future of Social Security. We gave the impression that the Biden proposal to raise Social Security taxes would lift the Social Security wage cap, which is now about $143,000 to $400,000. That’s not actually how it would work. And a few of you eagle-eared accountants and others wrote in to point that out. Instead, the Biden proposal would not do anything to raise the cap, whose increases follow the inflation metric. Rather, his proposal would reinstate the OASDI tax on income over $400,000. Everything between the current cap and 400,000 would continue to be exempt, everything over $400,000 — and remember, this is wage income — would be exposed to the tax.
David Muhlbaum: And that will just about do it for this episode of Your Money’s Worth. If you liked what you heard, please sign up for more at Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your content. When you do, please give us a rating and a review. If you’ve already subscribed, thanks. And please add a rating review if you haven’t already. To see the links that we’ve mentioned on our show, along with more great Kiplinger content on all the topics we’ve discussed, go to kiplinger.com/podcast. The episodes, transcripts and links are all in there by date. If you’re still here because we’ve got something wrong and I really hope we didn’t, you can stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening.
Did the market gyrations of late January rattle your faith in the market, or did you shrug at another "short squeeze?” Senior investing editor Kyle Woodley provides his insights on the drama over Gamestop. Also, how the ultimate penny-pincher car might be a used electric.
Keywords: Gamestop, short squeeze, shorting stocks, Robinhood trading, electric cars, save money with an electric car.
David Muhlbaum: That will just about do it for this episode of Your Money’s Worth. If you like what you heard, please sign up for more at Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your content. When you do, please give us a rating and review. If you’ve already subscribed, thank you. Please add a rating or review if you haven’t already. I keep harping on that because those ratings and reviews are a key metric that help other people learn about the podcast, virtuous cycle, all that. To see the links we’ve mentioned on our show, along with more great Kiplinger content on the topics we’ve discussed, go to kiplinger.com/podcast. The episodes, transcripts, and links are all in there by date. If you’re still here because you want we got something wrong — and I really hope we didn’t — you can stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or by emailing us directly at email@example.com. Thanks for listening.
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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.
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