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Last-minute Christmas shopping guide
Will UPS' weathermen save Christmas?
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Still haven't ordered those stocking stuffers? You've got to hurry, or your gift won't arrive by Christmas.

You've already missed the deadline for free shipping from Amazon (AMZN, Tech30), for example. (It was Friday.)

But the online store says gifts ordered as late as Tuesday can still be under the tree on Thursday if you pay for one-day delivery. Some customers in major cities can even place orders by 10 a.m. on Christmas Eve and receive same-day delivery.

Hitting the stores: If you want to do your last-minute shopping the old fashioned way, expect stores to be crowded and lines to be long this weekend.

Many stores like Target (TGT) and J.C. Penney (JCP) will be open for extended hours.

Toys 'R' Us and Kohl's (KSS) will be remain open all hours until Christmas eve.

Shopping online: And you can also shop online at these same stores.

Walmart's (WMT) free shipping deadline passed (last Wednesday), but "rush shipping" is available through Monday for a fee. And if the item is in stock at a nearby store, orders for in-store pickup can be placed even on Christmas Eve.

There's still time for free shipping through Best Buy (BBY). It says orders over $35 placed by 11:30 a.m. ET on Monday qualify for free delivery by Christmas. It also offers free in-store pickup.

The deadline at Kohl's and Target is Saturday. Sears' and Macy's is Monday.

Last call at the Post Office: If you already have a gift you have to mail, that clock is ticking, too. The U.S. Postal Service will accept packages through Tuesday for Priority Mail Express. You can save a few bucks -- and time in line -- by dropping off the package by Saturday and using First Class Mail (for Christmas cards) or Priority Mail (for packages).

The deadline for Thursday delivery from UPS (UPS) and FedEx (FDX) is Tuesday.

Related: Toys 'R' Us extends hours for last-minute shoppers

Related: Mall Santa 101


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Top 1%: What they made, what they paid
top 1 percent made
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

What does it take to make it into the top 1%?

In 2012, it took at least $435,000 in adjusted gross income to be considered one of the fabled top 1% households, according to the latest data from the IRS.

That's a healthy jump from the $389,000 it took the year before, especially considering how low inflation has been in recent years.

Related: The 2014 tax breaks you'll be able to take

The number of people admitted to this exclusive club: nearly 1.4 million households.

Collectively, the top 1% made about 22% of all income reported in 2012, but paid 38% of total federal income taxes collected.

Related: Wealth gap between middle class and rich widest ever

On a per-household basis, however, the average top 1%-er paid just under 23% of their income in federal taxes, which was down slightly from the year before -- and well below the more than 27% the group was paying in 2001.

World's billionaire tally climbs to 1,645

Since 2012, of course, several tax increases on high-income households have gone into effect as a result of the fiscal cliff deal and the Affordable Care Act.


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The best thing to do now for your portfolio
investments
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

The stock market roller coaster is back.

The Dow and S&P 500 shed over 4% in December before rebounding sharply this week. Take your pick of what to be most concerned about: cheap oil, a flat-lining Europe, a slowing China, Russia on life support, the Federal Reserve taking away the stimulus punch bowl or terrorism.

So what should you do with your money?

Long-term investors -- those of us with money in the market for retirement or other far away needs -- are told to sit tight. Trying to time the market typically leads to a far worse outcome than keeping your money invested.

Related: Who loses if Russia implodes?

It's great advice, except for one big caveat: Investors need to do an annual check up.

"For long-term investors, you stick with your game plan and don't get rattled. But not getting rattled doesn't mean you should never change your allocation," says Russ Koesterich, chief investment strategist for BlackRock.

Only 10% of people who have a 401k plan at Fidelity made any changes to their portfolio in the 12-month period ending in September.

To put that another way, 9 out of 10 people are doing an exceptional job of "sitting tight" on their investments.

But here's the problem: We have had several years of incredible stock market gains. It's been a lot of fun getting those retirement statements in the mail and seeing the amount increase year after year since the market bottomed out in March of 2009.

Related: No one is smart enough to time the market

But it's likely caused your asset allocation to get out of whack. Take a typical "60/40" portfolio with 60% of investments in stocks and 40% in bonds. That's a pretty common asset mix for someone nearing retirement.

If you started with that 60/40 mix five years ago and you haven't touched it, you now have about a 70% stocks/30% bonds portfolio, according to a CNNMoney analysis using S&P 500 returns and a U.S. government bond fund.

investments stocks bonds

That's a very different asset mix. It's weighted much heavier into stocks than before and is therefore a lot riskier.

As the market gets choppier, you probably want to make sure you've get back to the right portfolio allocation to meet your long-term goals. That likely means you need more bonds and less equity.

"As we've seen in the last month as portfolios have gotten hit by oil prices, people are reminded, 'Oh yes, that's why I have the stability of bonds in my portfolio,'" says John Sweeney, executive vice president for Retirement and Investing Strategies at Fidelity.

What's ahead for 2015: CNNMoney's survey of investment experts forecasts that stocks are likely to increase in 2015, but only modestly. And many of these market pros noted that the risks are rising.

Related: Why $55 oil is scaring the stock market

Recent market conditions don't mean you freak out and go all into cash, but they are a good reminder that now might be a wise time to look at whether you should increase or decrease parts of your portfolio.

In the investing world, this annual check up is often referred to as "rebalancing."

"Periodically -- once a year -- you want to go back and make sure your allocations are in line with your long-term goals," says Koesterich. "Otherwise you are taking on bets you didn't intend to take."

The other option that a growing number of Americans are opting for is putting their money into a "Target Date" fund. This is where you select a fund based on your age and likely retirement year and then your 401K manager takes care of the rebalancing between stocks and bonds for you.

Calculator: Will you have enough to retire?

In your 20s, your portfolio manager likely has your Target Date fund positioned very aggressively -- up to 90% -- in stocks. But as you age, the fund manager decreases your allocation to equities. By the time you retire, a Target Date fund likely has 25% or less in equities, according to Sweeney.

More than a quarter of Fidelity's 401K assets are now in Target Date funds, Sweeney notes.

"The worker is assured the asset allocation is correctly allocated over their career," he says.


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Toyota has best value: Consumer Reports
The Camry you can't buy
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

If you're looking for a car with the best value, you might want to check out Toyota.

Three Toyota (TM) cars made this year's best values list put together by Consumer Reports. It had more cars on the list than any other automaker.

Toyota's Camry Hybrid was rated the best value overall. Consumer Reports rated it a 2.01 on its scale, meaning it gives owners twice as much value as the average vehicle.

"The Camry Hybrid (Priced at about $29,000) is affordable for the impressive fuel economy, roominess, comfort and all-around functionality it delivers," Consumer Reports wrote. Automotive Editor Mark Rechtin specifically cited the "stone-cold reliability at an affordable price."

toyota camry hybrid
The Toyota Camry Hybrid earned the top ranking from Consumer Reports.

The other Toyota winners were Prius Four in the compact category and Highlander XLE (V6) among mid-sized SUVs.

At the bottom of the list were Jeep and Mercedes.

Related: Nissan gets slammed in Consumer Reports survey

Here is the best and worst in each category from Consumer Reports:

Subcompact:

Best: Hyundai Accent Sport (hatchback, MT)

Worst: Fiat 500C Pop (MT)

Compact:

Best: Toyota Prius Four

Worst: Fiat 500L Easy

Luxury Compact Cars:

Best: Buick Regal Premium I

Worst: Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Luxury Midsized/Large Cars:

Best: Lexus ES 300h

Worst: Mercedes-Benz S550 (AWD)

Large Cars:

Best: Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ (3.6)

Worst: Ford Taurus Limited (3.5, V6)

Sports Cars/Convertibles:

Best: Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring

Worst: Infiniti Q60 convertible (base)

Midsized Cars:

Best: Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE

Worst: Nissan Altima 3.5 SL (V6)

worst cars nissan altima
Consumer Reports rated the Nissan Altima worst in the midsized cars category.

Wagons (AWD):

Best: Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium

Worst: Honda Crosstour EX-L (V6)

Small SUVs:

Best: Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium

Worst: Jeep Cherokee Latitude (4-cyl.)

Midsized SUVs:

Best: Toyota Highlander XLE (V6)

Worst: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

Large SUVs:

Best: Chevrolet Traverse LT

Worst: GMC Yukon SLT

Luxury Compact SUVs:

best cars bmw x3
The BMW i3 on display at the Geneva Motor Show.

Best: BMW X3 xDrive28i (2.0T)

Worst: Cadillac SRX Luxury

Luxury Midsized/Large SUVs:

Best: Lexus RX 450h

Worst: Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTec

Pickup Trucks:

Best: Nissan Frontier SV (V6)

Worst: Toyota Tacoma (V6)

Minivans:

Best: Mazda5 Grand Touring

Worst: Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L

Related: Keep your eyes open when driving, AAA says


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Re-gifting is fine... if you follow these rules
regift rules
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Happy Re-Gifting Day!

Today might not be a well-known holiday marked on calendars (yet), but it's a practice many of us are familiar with during the holiday season.

In fact, more than three in four Americans find re-gifting socially acceptable, according to a recent survey from American Express. And last year, consumers re-gifted an average of four presents.

"Several years ago, etiquette rules would not allow re-gifting," said Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach. "After the recession, it's become more popular and acceptable."

But even if re-gifting is generally considered acceptable, there are rules:

Mind your social circles. Don't re-gift a present among the same social circle. "That is where you can get yourself in trouble," said Elaine Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette expert.

That means if your office secret Santa got you a bad present last year, it shouldn't make an appearance at this year's party. Same goes with gifts among friends and extended family.

6 played out holiday gifts nobody wants

Make sure some time has lapsed. While you don't want to give dated gifts, give a little breathing room between when you receive and re-purpose a gift to avoid having the original giver ask about it.

To make sure you don't break rule no. 1, Patrice Washington, author of "Real Money Answers for Every Woman," suggested keeping all potential re-gifts in a box with Post-It notes attached to each item detailing when, where and who gave the gift.

It has to be the right fit. "This isn't an unplug the lamp and try to give it away situation," said Washington.

A re-gift has to come with the right intention, meaning it must fit the receiver's style and be something you would likely have purchased on your own as a gift. "Maybe it's not quite right for you, but you know your best friend will love it. That's acceptable," said Whitmore.

Don't re-gift with immediate family members. Skip the re-gift option when it comes to parents and siblings, said Swann.

"If you have something that you know your sister would like just give it to her and tell her the situation. Don't try and pass it off as a gift."

Meet Dr. Christmas, holiday stylist to the rich and famous

The gift has to have value. Unless it's an heirloom or antique, a re-gift should always be something new, said Patricia Napier- Fitzpatrick, founder of the Etiquette School of New York in Manhattan.

Something you got for free is also generally off the re-gift table. "Unless it's something really nice," said Swann. "Once I attended an event by Oprah and they gave away a free Oprah embossed key chain and I gave it to my mom and it was a great gift. But generally, do not give promotional gifts."

Keep the original packaging, but always re-wrap. A re-gifted product should be given in its original packaging, but always take the time to re-wrap it, advised Washington.

But double check to make sure a personal note or something extra wasn't added inside the boxed item. "I've re-gifted once in my life and I got caught by my mother-in-law because there was a note slipped into the box I didn't catch. That was embarrassing." said Napier- Fitzpatrick.

Holidays got you stressed? Outsource your to-do list to the pros

It can't be sentimental. A hand-made gift or anything sentimental that the original giver might ask to see should be held onto.

"Handmade gifts are not something you re-gift," said Swann. "These gifts tend to be personalized or created with lots of consideration, so instead give the item away to charity."

'Fess up when caught. If you get busted recycling a gift, own up to it.

"Yes, it will be embarrassing but don't dwell on it," said Swann. "Just address it, explain why you thought they would like it and change the subject," said Swann.


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