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Taxes

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage or Invest?

January 24, 2012
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Owning a home outright is a dream that many Americans share. Having a mortgage can be a huge burden, and paying it off may be the first item on your financial to-do list. But competing with the desire to own your home free and clear is your need to invest for retirement, your child’s college…

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Financial Planning–Helping You See the Big Picture

December 21, 2011
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Do you picture yourself owning a new home, starting a business, or retiring comfortably? These are a few of the financial goals that may be important to you, and each comes with a price tag attached. That’s where financial planning comes in. Financial planning is a process that can help you reach your goals by…

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2011 Year-End Tax Planning Basics

December 19, 2011
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Year-end tax planning is as much about the 2012 tax year as it is about the 2011 tax year. That’s because there’s a real opportunity for tax savings when you can predict that you’ll be paying taxes at a lower rate in one year than in the other. Of course, to effectively plan, you have…

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Deadline Approaching for Undoing a 2010 Roth IRA Conversion

November 9, 2011
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If you converted a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in 2010, and your Roth IRA has sustained losses as a result of the recent market downturn, you may want to consider whether it makes sense to undo (recharacterize) your conversion. You have until October 17, 2011, to undo your 2010 conversion. (If you’ve already…

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Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage or Invest?

October 26, 2011
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Owning a home outright is a dream that many Americans share. Having a mortgage can be a huge burden, and paying it off may be the first item on your financial to-do list. But competing with the desire to own your home free and clear is your need to invest for retirement, your child’s college…

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Understanding Minimum Distribution Rules

September 21, 2011
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If you’re approaching retirement, you’ll eventually need to make serious decisions about when to begin taking withdrawals (known as distributions) from your retirement accounts, how to receive the money and how to calculate the taxes you’ll owe.* Fortunately, the rules governing required minimum distributions (RMDs) have been simplified in recent years. Still you should exercise…

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Transferring Wealth with a Stretch IRA

June 15, 2011
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Want a way to flex some retirement planning muscle? Then consider a “stretch” (inherited) IRA. Not only can this strategy preserve wealth for future generations, it also has the potential to keep assets growing in a tax-deferred account for years to come. Here’s the inside scoop, based on one hypothetical family situation. One Scenario Imagine…

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Roth IRAs — Powerful Planning Tools for All Generations

June 8, 2011
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If the current income restrictions associated with Roth IRAs prevent you from using one for your own planning purposes, consider taking steps to ensure that your children or other younger family members establish and fund a Roth IRA of their own. Roth IRAs offer ample tax benefits for retirement — particularly for younger investors. Yet…

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Planning for Retirement? Don't Overlook an IRA

June 1, 2011
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Nearly 50 million American households own an individual retirement account (IRA).1 While the IRA has evolved into a popular retirement savings vehicle — with more than $4 trillion in total assets — it is often an overlooked component of most investors’ financial planning strategies. In fact, over the past two years, only 15% of households…

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Fixed-Income Focus: Bond Fund Basics

January 18, 2010
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Even during periods when equities are top market performers, bonds may still have a place in your portfolio. As a complement to the more volatile nature of stock funds, fixed-income funds may have the potential to generate a steady stream of income and add stability to a portfolio. How Bond Funds Work Bond funds are…

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