Understanding Risk

FINRA® Letter Few terms in personal finance are as important, or used as frequently, as "risk." Nevertheless, few terms are as imprecisely defined. Generally, when financial advisors or the media talk about investment risk, their focus is on the historical price volatility of the asset or investment under discussion. Advisors label as aggressive or risky … Continued
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IRA & Retirement Plan Limits for 2018

IRA contribution limits The maximum amount you can contribute to a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA in 2018 is $5,500 (or 100% of your earned income, if less), unchanged from 2017. The maximum catch-up contribution for those age 50 or older remains at $1,000. You can contribute to both a traditional IRA and a … Continued
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Understanding Social Security

Approximately 66 million people today receive some form of Social Security benefits, including retirement, disability, survivor, and family benefits. (Source: Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, 2017)  Although most people receiving Social Security are retired, you and your family members may be eligible for benefits at any age, depending on your circumstances. How does … Continued
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Understanding IRA’s

An individual retirement arrangement (IRA) is a personal savings plan that offers specific tax benefits. IRAs are one of the most powerful retirement savings tools available to you. Even if you're contributing to a 401(k) or other plan at work, you should also consider investing in an IRA. What types of IRAs are available? The … Continued
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Taxation of Investments

It's nice to own stocks, bonds, and other investments. Nice, that is, until it's time to fill out your federal income tax return. At that point, you may be left scratching your head. Just how do you report your investments and how are they taxed? Is it ordinary income or a capital gain? To determine … Continued
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Income Tax Planning & 529 Plans

The income tax benefits offered by 529 plans make these plans attractive to parents (and others) interested in saving for college. Qualified withdrawals from a 529 plan are tax free at the federal level, and some states also offer tax breaks to their residents. It's important to evaluate the federal and state tax consequences of … Continued
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Taking Advantage of Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Employer-sponsored qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s are some of the most powerful retirement savings tools available. If your employer offers such a plan and you're not participating in it, you should be. Once you're participating in a plan, try to take full advantage of it. Understand your employer-sponsored plan Before you can take advantage … Continued
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How Student Loans Impact Your Credit

If you've finished college within the last few years, chances are you're paying off your student loans. What happens with your student loans now that they've entered repayment status will have a significant impact — positive or negative — on your credit history and credit score. It's payback time When you left school, you enjoyed … Continued
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Year-End Tax Planning

Year-End Tax Planning As the end of the year approaches, it's time to consider strategies that could help you reduce your tax bill. But most tax tips, suggestions, and strategies are of little practical help without a good understanding of your current tax situation. This is particularly true for year-end planning. You can't know where … Continued
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Establishing financial safety net

Getting Started: Establishing a Financial Safety Net

In times of crisis, you don’t want to be shaking pennies out of a piggy bank. Having a financial safety net in place can ensure that you’re protected when a financial emergency arises. One way to accomplish this is by setting up a cash reserve, a pool of readily available funds that can help you … Continued

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