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Fixed Annuities: The Missing Piece of Your Retirement Planning Puzzle?

Increasingly, the responsibility for funding a comfortable retirement is shifting from the employer and the government to the individual. Many people contribute to employer-sponsored retirement plans and IRAs, but there is another tax-advantaged retirement vehicle that shouldn’t be overlooked: annuities. Annuity Essentials An annuity is a contract between an individual and an insurance company. They’re…

Five Steps to a Simpler Financial Life

 For many Americans, financial life seems to be getting more and more complicated. Perhaps that’s because more workers bear responsibility for their own retirement savings thanks to the proliferation of 401(k) and other plans. Or maybe it’s because there’s so much information and so many investment choices to sort through. Whatever the case, here…

Annuities May Help Make Your Income Last a Lifetime

With demographic trends pushing the length of retirement to 25 or 30 years and beyond, it’s important to create a retirement investment strategy that generates an income stream that you won’t outlive. If you’re looking for an investment vehicle that promises a guaranteed, lifetime income stream, then you may want to consider annuities. Simply put,…

Pursue Tax-Advantaged Income with Municipal Bonds

When it comes to bond yields, sometimes less is more. While municipal bonds, or “munis,” usually have a stated yield several percentage points below those on comparable corporate or government bonds, the interest paid on municipal issues is generally exempt from federal and, in some cases, state and local taxes. For that reason, a municipal…

How Much of a Mortgage Can You Afford?

A mortgage is one element of total household expenses, such as taxes and heating costs, which are likely to increase over time. It’s important to consider increases in household expenses in addition to your mortgage payment. For many households, it’s important to arrive at a monthly mortgage payment that is affordable without financial strain. When…

Annuities and Insurance: Filling the Cracks in Your Financial Plan

If you’re contributing to an employer-sponsored retirement plan on a regular basis, be sure to congratulate yourself! You are already taking an important step toward addressing what may be the biggest financial challenge you will ever face. And if you are setting aside money for the college education of a child or grandchild, you deserve…

Putting on the Right Market Cap: Why Stock Size Matters

While there have been many times in history when the U.S. stock market’s performance was driven in large part by the successes of large companies, there have been other times when the innovation and high-growth orientation of smaller or midsized firms led the charge during an economic boom. This raises an important question for investors…

Fixed-Income Focus: Bond Fund Basics

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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