7 Smart End-Of-Year Money Moves

    Monday, December 8th, 2014

    What has changed for you in 2014? Did you start a new job or leave a job behind? Did you retire? Did you start a family? If notable changes occurred in your personal or professional life, then you will want to review your finances before this year ends and 2015 begins.

    Even if your 2014 has been relatively uneventful, the end of the year is still …

    continue reading

    Social Security: Should You Take It At 62 or Later?

    Friday, November 14th, 2014

    Now or later? When it comes to the question of Social Security income, the choice looms large. Should you apply now to get earlier payments? Or wait for a few years to get larger checks?

    Consider what you know (and don’t know). You know how much retirement money you have; you may have a clear projection of retirement income from other potential sources. Other factors aren’t …

    continue reading

    Financial Considerations for 2015

    Monday, October 6th, 2014

    2015 is less than three months away. Fall is the time when investors look for ways to lower their taxes and make some financial moves. This is an ideal time to schedule a meeting with a financial, tax or estate planning professional.

    How do economists see next year unfolding? Morningstar sees 2.0-2.5% GDP for the U.S. for 2015, with housing, export growth, wage growth, very low …

    continue reading

    That First RMD From Your IRA

    Monday, September 15th, 2014

    When you reach age 70½, the IRS instructs you to start making withdrawals from your Traditional IRA(s).These IRA withdrawals are also called Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). You will make them annually from now on.

    If you fail to take your annual RMD or take out less than what is required, the IRS will notice. You will not only owe income taxes on the amount not withdrawn, …

    continue reading

    Debunking A Few Popular Retirement Myths

    Monday, September 1st, 2014

    Generalizations about money & retirement linger. Some have been around for decades, and some new clichés have recently joined their ranks. Let’s examine a few.

    “When I’m retired, I won’t really have to invest anymore.”  Many people see retirement as an end instead of a beginning – a finish line for a career. In reality, retirement can be the start of a new and promising phase …

    continue reading

    Taking Taxes Into Account When Saving & Investing

    Monday, August 18th, 2014

    It isn’t always top of mind, but it should be.

    How many of us save and invest with an eye on tax implications? Not that many of us, according to a recent survey from Russell Investments (the global asset manager overseeing the Russell 2000). In the opening quarter of 2014, Russell polled financial services professionals and asked them how many of their clients had inquired about …

    continue reading

    What Beneficiaries Need To Know

    Monday, August 4th, 2014

    If your loved ones have invested, saved or insured themselves to any degree, you may be named as a beneficiary to one or more of their accounts, policies or assets in the event of their deaths. While we all hope “that day” never comes, we do need to know what to do financially if and when it does.

    Legally, just who is a beneficiary? IRAs, annuities, …

    continue reading

    Couples Retiring On The Same Page

    Monday, July 21st, 2014

    What does a good retirement look like to you? Does it resemble the retirement that your spouse or partner has in mind? It is at least roughly similar?

    The Social Security Commission currently projects an average retirement of 19 years for a man and 21 years for a woman (assuming retirement at age 65). So sharing the same vision of retirement (or at least respecting the …

    continue reading

    How LTC Insurance Can Help Protect You, Your Family & Assets

    Monday, June 30th, 2014

    How will you pay for long term care? The sad fact is that most people don’t know the answer to that question. But a solution is available.

    Many baby boomers are opting to make long term care coverage an important part of their retirement strategies. The reasons to get an LTC policy after age 50 are very compelling.

    Your premium payments buy you access to a large …

    continue reading

    What To Do When A Windfall Comes Your Way

    Thursday, June 19th, 2014

    A first-world problem, and nothing more? Not quite. Getting rich quick can be liberating, but it can also be frustrating. Sudden wealth can help you resolve anxieties about funding your retirement or your children’s college educations, and new-found financial freedom can lead to time freedom – greater opportunity to live and work on your terms.

    On the other hand, you’ll pay more taxes, attract more attention …

    continue reading

    Retirement Planning & Health Care Expenses

    Monday, May 12th, 2014

    As you save for retirement, you also recognize the possibility of having to pay major health care costs in the future. Is there some way to plan for these expenses years in advance?

    Just how great might those expenses be? There’s no rote answer, of course, but recent surveys from AARP and Fidelity Investments reveal that too many baby boomers might be taking this subject too …

    continue reading

    Should You Reduce Risk Exposure as You Get Older?

    Monday, April 21st, 2014

    If you move away from stocks with age, are you making a mistake? For some time, financial professionals have encouraged investors to lessen their exposure to the stock market as they get older. After all, a 60-year-old has less time to recover from a market downturn than someone decades away from collecting Social Security checks.

    Is that conventional thinking flawed? It might be. It isn’t simply …

    continue reading

    Should We Retire The 4% Rule?

    Friday, March 21st, 2014

    In 1994, a financial advisor named Bill Bengen published research articulating the “4% rule”, which became a landmark of retirement planning. The 4% rule postulates that a retirement nest egg can last 30 years if a retiree withdraws 4% of it per year (incrementally adjusted for inflation), given a portfolio of 50% stocks and 50% bonds. Bengen studied numerous 30-year stock market time spans to …

    continue reading

    Should You Apply for Social Security At Age 62, 66, or Later?

    Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

    Now or later? When it comes to the question of Social Security income, the choice looms large. Should you apply now to get earlier payments? Or wait for a few years to get larger checks?

    Consider what you know (and don’t know). You know how much retirement money you have; you may have a clear projection of retirement income …

    continue reading

    Asset Location & Timing to Reduce Taxes in Retirement

    Monday, February 24th, 2014

    Location, location, location … It matters when it comes to real estate, and it also matters when it comes to the way you hold and invest your retirement savings.

    You can’t control what happens with the tax code, but you can control how your savings are held. As various types of investments are taxed at varying …

    continue reading

    6 Ways To Retire Happy & Comfortable

    Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

    Some retirees succeed at realizing the life they want, others don’t. Fate aside, it isn’t merely a matter of stock market performance or investment selection that makes the difference. There are certain dos and don’ts – some less apparent than others – that tend to encourage retirement happiness and comfort.

    1. Retire financially literate. Some retirees don’t know how much they don’t …

    continue reading

    2014 IRA Deadlines Are Approaching

    Monday, January 20th, 2014

    Financially, many of us associate April with taxes – but we should also associate April with important IRA deadlines.

    *April 1 is the absolute deadline to take an initial IRA Required Mandatory Distribution (RMD).

    *April 15 is the deadline for making annual contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA.

    Let’s discuss the contribution deadline first, and then the deadline …

    continue reading

    The Fed Taper Explained

    Friday, December 20th, 2013

    December 18 turned out to be T-Day: the day on which the Federal Reserve finally tapered QE3. In making the move, the Fed acknowledged an improving economy; Wall Street quickly and enthusiastically applauded its decision.

    The Fed will reduce its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion. QE3 will continue, but the central bank will buy only $75 billion of bonds per month …

    continue reading

    Temporary Tax Provisions Set to Expire in 2014

    Monday, November 18th, 2013

    At the end of every year, certain federal tax breaks face a sunset. Some are renewed, some expire. As 2014 will soon start, here is a list of some of notable tax provisions that may go away next year – offering some opportunities that you may want to take advantage of this year.

    Qualified tuition deduction. For 2013, an individual taxpayer …

    continue reading

    How To Organize Your Retirement Finances

    Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

    Before retirement begins, gather what you need. Put as much documentation as you can in one place, for you and those you love. It could be a password-protected online vault; it could be a file cabinet; it could be a file folder. Regardless of what it is, by centralizing the location of important papers you are saving yourself from disorganization and headaches in …

    continue reading

    Do You Suffer From Financial Paralysis?

    Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

    A decision not made may have financial consequences. There is an old belief that women are more cautious about money than men, and whether you believe that or not, both women and men may fall prey to a kind of money paralysis as they age – in which financial indecision is regarded as a form of “safety.”

    Retirement seems to heighten this …

    continue reading

    End-Of-The-Year Money Moves

    Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

    What has changed for you in 2013? Did you start a new job – or leave a job behind? Did you retire? Did you start a family? If some notable changes occurred in your personal or professional life, then you will want to review your finances before this year ends and the next one begins.

    Even if your 2013 has been relatively …

    continue reading

    Financial Considerations for 2014

    Monday, September 16th, 2013

    2014 is really not too far away. Fall is the time of year when the financially savvy start to look for ways to reduce their taxes and make year-end moves in pursuit of key financial objectives.

    What might the big picture hold? Absent a crystal ball, let’s turn to the September edition of the Wall Street Journal’s Economic Forecasting Survey. The WSJ …

    continue reading

    Implications of Rising Mortgage Rates

    Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

    Between early May and mid-July, the average interest rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose about 1%. Rates on 30-year FRMs have basically held steady since hitting a peak of 4.51% in Freddie Mac’s July 11 Primary Mortgage Market Survey – in the August 15 edition, they averaged 4.40% – but they could rise dramatically again.

    When mortgages become a bit costlier, …

    continue reading

    Pension Questions After the Detroit Bankruptcy

    Monday, July 29th, 2013

    On July 18, Detroit became the largest American city to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. What will happen to the pensions of its 20,000+ retired public employees? There is a possibility they could be reduced – perhaps greatly. In the wake of Detroit’s fiscal problems, current and future pension recipients across the country are wondering about the stability and amount of their promised …

    continue reading

    How Financial Planning Has Changed for Same-Sex Couples

    Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

    When the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of same-sex marriage in June, its ruling profoundly altered the financial planning landscape for gay and lesbian couples – resulting in some “night and day” differences.

    Yet in looking at the financial “before and after,” same-sex spouses and their advisors must also consider the “when and where” – because the Supreme Court ruling only applies …

    continue reading

    Don’t Overlook the Importance of Long-Term Care Planning

    Thursday, July 11th, 2013

    Long-Term Care (LTC) planning is one aspect of retirement planning that many people overlook. They don’t want to cover the additional expense of LTC policies, and find it difficult to plan for care that they might not need for years down the road. But the biggest mistake often made with long-term care planning is putting it off until health issues can make LTC …

    continue reading

    Trying To Make Sense of The Fed Statement & The Roller Coaster Market Reaction

    Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

    The end is in sight for QE3 On June 19, the Federal Reserve let investors know that “easing without end” will eventually end, perhaps as early as mid-2014. Wall Street had anticipated such a signal, but investors still reacted emotionally to the news, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ceding all of its May and June gains in less than two market …

    continue reading

    How Do You Know When You Have Enough To Retire?

    Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

    You save for retirement with the expectation that at some point, you will have enough savings to walk confidently away from the office and into the next phase of life. So how do you know if you have reached that point?

    Retirement calculators are useful – but only to a point. The dilemma is that they can’t predict your retirement …

    continue reading

    5 Myths & Misconceptions about Retirement Income Planning

    Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

    You think that you have a sound strategy in place for financial security in your golden years, but you could be basing your retirement income on false assumptions. There could be an unpleasant surprise down the road if a faulty financial plan lulled you into a sense of security and left you scrambling to make last-minute adjustments.

    Some of the common myths and misconceptions about retirement …

    continue reading

    When Will The Fed Easing End?

    Monday, May 6th, 2013

    In its May 1 policy announcement, the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its commitment to its current stimulus campaign, or QE3 – its monthly purchase of $85 billion in bonds.

    QE3 has undeniably boosted the stock market and assisted the real estate recovery. Yet at some point, the Fed will decide to let the economy stand on its own and stop its aggressive easing of monetary policy. Wall …

    continue reading

    How LTC Insurance Can Help Protect Your Assets

    Monday, April 15th, 2013

    How will you pay for long term care? The sad fact is that most people don’t know the answer to that question. But a solution is available.

    As baby boomers leave their careers behind, long term care insurance will become very important in their financial strategies. The reasons to get an LTC policy are very compelling.

    Your premium payments buy you access to a large pool of money …

    continue reading

    Living Trusts: Fact vs. Fiction

    Monday, April 8th, 2013

    Living trusts are created with a clearly defined objective: to avoid probate. Misconceptions about living trusts have spread to the point where people think they can accomplish much more than they really do. Here is a realistic assessment of living trusts.

    If you fear probate, consider a living trust. If you worry about your will being contested or your heirs fighting over your assets, a revocable …

    continue reading

    Estate Planning 101

    Friday, March 22nd, 2013

    Estate planning is a task that people tend to put off, as any discussion of “the end” tends to be off-putting. However, those who leave this world without their financial affairs in good order risk leaving their heirs some significant problems along with their legacies.

    No matter what your age, here are some things you may want to accomplish this year with regard to estate planning.

    Create …

    continue reading

    What Will Your Life Look Like In Retirement?

    Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

    How do you picture your future? If you are like many baby boomers, your view of retirement is likely pragmatic compared to that of your parents. That doesn’t mean you have to have a “plain vanilla” tomorrow. Even if your retirement savings are not as great as you would prefer, you still have great potential to design the life you want.

    With that in mind, here …

    continue reading

    Simple Ways To Put Your Tax Refund To Work

    Monday, February 25th, 2013

    Should your refund be saved? According to a TD Ameritrade poll, 47% of U.S. taxpayers expect a refund this year. What do they plan to do with the money?1

    The answers may surprise you. While 15% of the survey respondents indicated they would spend their refunds on discretionary purchases, 47% said they would save the money and 44% indicated they would …

    continue reading

    10 Things You & Your Beneficiaries Need To Know

    Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

    If your loved ones have invested, saved or insured themselves to any degree, you may be named as a beneficiary to one or more of their accounts, policies or assets in the event of their deaths. While we all hope “that day” never comes, we do need to know what to do financially if and when it does.

    Legally, just who is …

    continue reading

    A Caregiver’s Financial Responsibilities

    Monday, January 21st, 2013

    Providing eldercare to a parent, grandparent or relative is one of the noblest things you can do. It is a great responsibility, and over time it may also lead you and your family to reflect on some financial responsibilities. Here are some questions to consider.

    Q: How will caregiving affect your own financial picture? Try to estimate a budget, either before you begin or after a …

    continue reading

    2 Reasons Why It Is Wise To Diversify

    Monday, January 7th, 2013

    You may be amused by the efforts of some of your friends and neighbors as they try to “chase the return” in the stock market. We all seem to know a day trader or two: someone constantly hunting for the next hot stock, endlessly refreshing browser windows for breaking news and tips from assorted gurus.

    Is that the path to making money in stocks? Some people …

    continue reading

    10 Bad Money Habits to Break in 2013

    Friday, December 28th, 2012

    Do bad money habits constrain your financial progress? Many people fall into the same financial behavior patterns year after year. If you sometimes succumb to these financial tendencies, the New Year is as good an occasion as any to alter your behavior.

    #1: Lending money to family & friends. You may know someone who has lent a few thousand to a sister …

    continue reading

    5 Ways To Make Your Retirement Savings Last

    Monday, December 10th, 2012

    As you retire, there are variables you can’t control; investment performance and fate are certainly toward the top of the list. Your approach to withdrawing and preserving your retirement savings, however, may give you more control over your financial life.

    Drawing retirement income without draining your savings is a challenge, and the response to it varies per individual. Today’s retirees will …

    continue reading

    Ways To Increase Your Social Security Income

    Monday, November 26th, 2012

    What is your “magic number”? Roughly half of retirees claim Social Security benefits at age 62, as soon as they become eligible. Some people delay benefits and postpone using their retirement savings as an income source. Others apply out of necessity; their financial situation leaves them little choice.

    These factors aside, what if you have a choice? If you wait a few years to apply for …

    continue reading

    Big Spenders vs. Big Savers

    Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

    You stand at your window and look across the street. Nice house, you think. Nice landscaping. Nice sports car. Nice driveway. New bikes for the kids. Wow, your neighbors are really well off. If only you had that kind of money.

    That plain home down the street with the older model sedan parked out front pales in comparison. A couple in their …

    continue reading

    Should You Take Your Company’s Pension Buyout?

    Friday, October 12th, 2012

    If you get a pension buyout offer from your longtime employer, you may be more than a little anxious. Does that lump sum constitute a good deal for you, or for the corporation or organization bringing you retirement income?

    With General Motors and Ford offering lump sums to tens of thousands of former workers this year, pension buyouts are receiving more scrutiny in the media. Expect …

    continue reading

    Stock Market Behavior In Presidential Election Years

    Monday, October 1st, 2012

    As an investor, you know that past performance is no guarantee of future success. Expanding that truth, history has no bearing on the future of Wall Street.

    That said, stock market historians have repeatedly analyzed market behavior in presidential election years, and what stocks do when different parties hold the reins of power in Washington. They have noticed some interesting patterns through the years which may or …

    continue reading

    9 Major Retirement Planning Mistakes To Avoid

    Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

    Much has been written about the classic financial mistakes that plague start-ups, family businesses, corporations and charities. Aside from these blunders, there are also some classic financial missteps that plague retirees.

    Calling them “mistakes” may be a bit harsh, as not all of them represent errors in judgment. Yet whether they result from ignorance or fate, we need to be aware of them as we plan …

    continue reading

    6 Financial Questions for the Retiring Homeowner

    Monday, August 13th, 2012

    Do you see yourself retiring in the near future? In planning for that transition, you might want to consider the state of your mortgage, the state of your property taxes, and the state of your living quarters.

    Could you pay off your mortgage in the next few years? If your home is paid off, great. If you are close to paying it off, think about putting …

    continue reading

    When Will Interest Rates Rise?

    Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

    Here’s a trivia question for you: when was the last time the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark U.S. interest rate?

    The answer: June 29, 2006. On that day, the federal funds rate hit 5.25%. It has declined ever since, and it has stayed at 0%-0.25% since December 16, 2008. The Fed expects to hold interest rates at 0%-0.25% through late 2014, and some analysts think they …

    continue reading

    How Much Money Should I Save In Order To Be Able To Retire?

    Monday, July 16th, 2012

    Ultimately, the answer is “however much your budget allows you to contribute”. The big-picture question, however, is whether you need to contribute more to your retirement savings in order to maintain your lifestyle after your career is done.

    An Aon Hewitt analysis (The Real Deal: 2012 Retirement Income Adequacy at Large Companies) finds that the average corporate employee makes a pre-tax contribution equal to 7.2% of …

    continue reading

    20 Tips for Minimizing Your Taxes in 2012 & Beyond

    Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

    Will the Bush-era tax cuts expire next year? We may not have an answer to that question for several months. After the November elections, you could see them extended once again. Nothing is certain: with the daunting financing challenges the federal government faces, they may finally expire in 2013.

    If your goal is tax minimization, here are 20 “to-dos” you might want to accomplish before 2013 …

    continue reading

    Parents, Alzheimer’s & Money

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

    Every eighth American aged 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease, and 43% of Americans aged 85 and older have it, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Consider those percentages in light of the Social Security Administration’s estimate that about 25% of today’s 65-year-olds will live past age 90. These shocking statistics have serious implications for family wealth.

    Your choices. What are your options when it comes to …

    continue reading

    8 IRA Dates & Deadlines To Remember

    Monday, May 21st, 2012

    IRAs come with complex rules and regulations. As these rules and regulations are occasionally forgotten or misinterpreted by IRA owners, here is a refresher.

    Age 70½: Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). Once you reach age 70½, you are required to make withdrawals from any traditional (“regular”) IRAs that you have established. (Original owners of Roth IRAs never have to take RMDs.)

    **You must take your initial RMD from …

    continue reading

    What to Do Financially When A Spouse Dies

    Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

    When a spouse passes away, the emotion and magnitude of the loss can send our lives reeling. This profound change can also affect our finances. All at once, we have a to-do list before us, and the responsibility of it can make us feel pressured. With that in mind, this article is intended as a kind of checklist – a list of some of the …

    continue reading

    Audit Flags

    Monday, April 16th, 2012

    Are you one of those taxpayers worried about being audited? The fear may be overblown – according to Internal Revenue Service data, just 1.6 million taxpayers were audited in 2011. The agency reviewed about 1% of returns sent in by taxpayers making less than $200,000, and no more than 12% of millionaires had their returns scrutinized.

    Still, no one likes extra stress courtesy of the …

    continue reading

    When Will Gas Prices Fall?

    Monday, April 9th, 2012

    Could $5 gas arrive with summer? As of April 6, U.S. retail gasoline prices were up 20.15% YTD; on that date, AAA’s national survey had the price of regular unleaded averaging $3.94 per gallon. So what happens this spring and summer – traditionally when Americans tend to hit the road?

    A new Christian Science Monitor/TIPP survey of 900+ adults finds that the average American expects pump …

    continue reading

    IRA Deadlines are Approaching

    Monday, March 19th, 2012

    Many of us associate April with taxes. We should also associate it with IRAs, for April is the month with the deadlines for IRA contributions and mandatory IRA withdrawals.

    The deadline for your 2011 IRA contribution is April 17, 2012. Yes, April 17. This year, April 15 is a Sunday and April 16 falls on a holiday in the District of Columbia (Emancipation Day). So …

    continue reading

    Underpublicized 2012 Tax Changes & Reminders

    Monday, March 12th, 2012

    Every year, the IRS institutes big and little changes – and some don’t get as much notice as they should. This year is no exception. Here is a rundown of some of alterations and asterisks affecting taxpayers this year.

    Don’t forget Form 8949. If you are reporting capital gains or losses for 2011, you must file this new form along with your return. Speaking of new …

    continue reading

    Obama’s Proposed 2013 Budget & The Taxpayer

    Monday, February 20th, 2012

    The wealthiest taxpayers could be hit hard if the tax hikes in President Obama’s 2013 federal budget proposal become law. The good news is that the tax changes outlined by the President in mid-February may be softened by eventual bipartisan compromise. As currently proposed, they would impact the wealthiest Americans on several fronts.

    continue reading

    RMD Precautions & Options For Those Over Age 70

    Friday, January 20th, 2012

    After you turn 70, the IRS requires you to withdraw some of the money in your retirement savings accounts each year. These withdrawals are officially called Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). While you never have to make withdrawals from a Roth IRA, you must take annual RMDs from traditional, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, pension and profit-sharing plans and 401(k), 403(b) and 457 retirement plans annually …

    continue reading

    Fiduciary Standards vs. Suitability Standards

    Friday, January 13th, 2012

    If you meet with a financial professional, be sure to ask a critical question. If you make an appointment with a financial consultant on behalf of yourself, your family or your company, make the following inquiry before the meeting ends:

    Are you held to a suitability standard or a fiduciary standard?

    This distinction is very important. You should be aware of the difference.

    What is a suitability …

    continue reading

    U.S. Stock Indexes Held Their Own in 2011 Despite The Geo-Political Turmoil

    Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

    2011 had a definite downside. Statistically, 2011 may end up being characterized as the year stocks stood still: the S&P 500 lost .003%, its smallest year-over-year change of any kind since 1947. Yet it was hardly a placid year; every week seemed to feature big rallies and selloffs, and seemingly every time we checked in on a financial website or TV program, some new anxiety …

    continue reading

    Budgeting For Retirement – It Makes Sense Yet Many Retirees Live Without One

    Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

    You wont be able to withdraw an unlimited amount of money in retirement. So a retirement budget is a necessity. Some retirees forego one, only to regret it later. Run the numbers before you retire. Often people need about 70-80% of their end salaries in retirement, but this can vary. So years before you leave work, sit down for an hour or so (perhaps …

    continue reading

    In This Volatile Market, Perspective Is Valuable

    Monday, November 28th, 2011

    2011 will not be remembered as a banner year on Wall Street. No silver bullet has emerged to take care of the European Unions debt problems, and after two strong years for U.S. equities, it appears stocks will make minimal annual gains or finish the year in the red.

    continue reading

    Medicare Open Enrollment Ends December 7th!

    Monday, November 21st, 2011

    Don’t wait until New Year’s to join a Medicare plan. The open enrollment period ends early this year, and many Medicare beneficiaries may not realize it. In fact, 97% of seniors in a recent poll conducted by UnitedHealthcare and the National Council on Aging could not specify this year’s earlier-than-usual deadline.

    continue reading

    Uncertainty Over Italy – The EU May Forego A Bailout

    Friday, November 11th, 2011

    The Eurozone has another mess on its hands. On November 9, the yield on Italy’s 10-year bond soared to 7.46% – an interest rate clearly unthinkable in the long run, a danger signal EU leaders had to address immediately.

    Bond yields above 7% have served as a kind of litmus test for the European Union. When 10-year yields topped 7% in Portugal and Ireland, those countries …

    continue reading

    Changes in IRA & 401(k)s for 2012

    Monday, November 7th, 2011

    The IRS has announced cost-of-living adjustments to IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans for 2012, so here is what you need to know about the newly altered contribution limits and phase-outs for these plans…

    continue reading

    The Latest on Social Security

    Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

    Social Security gets its first COLA since 2009. As moderate inflation has made a comeback, the federal government has decided to boost Social Security benefits by 3.6% for 2012. This means an average increase of $39 per month for 55 million Social Security recipients ($467 for all of 2012). Also, more than 8 million Americans who get Supplemental Security Income will get $18 more per …

    continue reading

    What Has Wall Street Learned from 2008?

    Monday, October 24th, 2011

    Memories of 2008 are still fresh: The credit crisis; the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual; the federal takeover of Fannie and Freddie; the market downturn. There’s little doubt Wall Street would like to erase it all from its conscience, and maybe it has. Part of the anger of the Occupy Wall Street movement comes from the perception that nothing has changed…

    continue reading

    Could Your Social Security Income Be Taxed?

    Monday, October 3rd, 2011

    Many new retirees assume that Social Security income is tax-free. That is not always the case. The Social Security Amendments of 1983 opened the door to taxes on some SSI, depending on the amount of income someone earns in a calendar year. How much of your SSI is potentially taxable? As much as 85% of it, under certain conditions. Four factors determine how much …

    continue reading

    Financial Missteps Made By Married Women

    Monday, September 19th, 2011

    A recent survey found that over 60% of women feel they are better at handling money than men are. However, married women sometimes find themselves in perplexing financial situations – conditions that might be avoided with a little planning and/or foresight. With vigilance, you can plan to steer clear of these mistakes.

    continue reading

    A Prime Time To Refinance Your Mortgage

    Sunday, August 21st, 2011

    On August 18, rates on 15-year FRMs were averaging 3.36%. Freddie Mac reported the lowest interest rates in at least 50 years in its August 18 Primary Mortgage Market Survey. In fact, it noted record lows across the board. Rates on conventional 30-year home loans were averaging 4.15% on August 18. (The last time 30-year mortgage rates were this minimal …

    continue reading

    A Time For Patience

    Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

    As expected, a plunge. World stock markets swooned on August 8 in reaction to Standard & Poor’s downgrade of U.S. long-term debt. On Wall Street, the DJIA fell 634.76, the S&P 500 79.92 and the NASDAQ 174.42. It was the toughest day on Wall Street since December 1, 2008, when the National Bureau of Economic Research announced America had lapsed into …

    continue reading

    A Mid-Year Correction

    Friday, August 5th, 2011

    August 4: the Dow’s toughest day since December 2008. On his 50th birthday, President Obama watched Wall Street cast a no-confidence vote in the economy he had been assigned to turn around. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 512.76 and experienced a correction Thursday, with the S&P 500 (-60.27) and NASDAQ (-136.68) also down more than 10% from spring peaks.

    Developments …

    continue reading

    Finally, A Debt Deal Gets Done

    Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

    The Budget Control Act of 2011 is poised to become law – just in time to meet the August 2 Treasury deadline and reassure world financial markets. The framework of the new law is complex and shows that both Democrats and Republicans can claim some victories.

    The federal deficit will be reduced by at least $2.1 trillion. That figure comes …

    continue reading

    Is A Tax Efficient Retirement Possible?

    Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

    Could you end up paying higher taxes in retirement? Do you have a lot of money saved in a 401(k) or a traditional IRA? If so, you may be poised to receive significant retirement income.

    Those income distributions will be taxed. As federal and state governments are hungry for revenue, you may see higher marginal tax rates in the near future.

    Poor …

    continue reading

    Budget Cuts & The Debt Ceiling

    Friday, July 15th, 2011

    The summer of discontent stretches on. As July ebbs into August, we have no resolution on the federal debt limit issue. The possibility of default is still in play. Republican leaders want major cuts to entitlement programs as a condition of raising the debt ceiling; Democrats agree on the necessity of cuts but also want tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans to bring in added …

    continue reading

    Inherited IRA Mistakes (& How YOU Can Avoid Them)

    Monday, June 27th, 2011

    Do you want to hand your heirs big tax problems? Would you like to hand the IRS a sizable chunk of your wealth? Probably not. But if you misunderstand the rules when it comes to inherited IRAs, you just might. Here are some missteps that IRA owners and IRA heirs often make – financial choices you might come to regret.

    Thinking that a will or a …

    continue reading

    The 10 Different Types Of IRAs

    Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

    What don’t you know? Many Americans know about Roth and traditional IRAs … but there are also many other types of IRAs. Here’s a quick look at several basic classes of IRAs, as well as some variations and additional information.

    Traditional IRA.
    (Contribution limit of $5,000, $6,000 if you are 50 or older)
    A traditional IRA (or deductible IRA) is an individual savings plan for anyone who receives …

    continue reading

    Compelling Reasons Why Advisors Recommend Third-Party Asset Managers

    Monday, June 13th, 2011

    Some investors are puzzled when financial services professionals recommend third-party asset managers to supervise their portfolios. Why would they recommend turning over the active management of the portfolio to someone else?

    It may be the right thing to do. When this suggestion comes up, it isn’t because the financial advisor wants to retreat from responsibility. It is actually made in the best interest of the …

    continue reading

    Baby Boomers & Their Retirement Hopes

    Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

    What do you think your retirement will be like? If you are like many baby boomers, you may be pessimistic about it. Look at the results of a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press and NBC’s

    • Only 11% of boomers think they will retire to a comfortable lifestyle.
    • 24% of boomers say they have no retirement savings.
    • 64% feel that Social Security will be …

      continue reading

      A Closer Look At Gold

      Thursday, May 5th, 2011

      America’s got gold fever. Internet headlines inform you that gold settled at another record close today. Nightly news segments show you footage of excited sellers and beaming commodities traders. Radio commercials remind you that gold has outperformed stocks in the last decade. How should you respond to all this?

      There’s no doubt that in recent history, the performance of gold is …

      continue reading

      S&P Cuts U.S. Outlook

      Monday, April 25th, 2011

      Pessimism over America’s ability to reduce its deficit. When one of the world’s premier credit rating agencies issues a warning for America, global stock markets dip. On April 18, Standard & Poor’s announced that its rating outlook for the United States was now “negative” instead of “stable”. It was a landmark moment – S&P had never made such a declaration about …

      continue reading

      3 Reasons To Max Out Your 401k

      Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

      Do you have a million dollars? At the moment, probably not. But if you invest and save diligently and let your assets compound, who knows? You may be a millionaire someday. In fact, you may need to be a millionaire someday. If you stay retired for 20 or 30 years – which could happen – it could take …

      continue reading

      Which Retirement Plan Is Right For You?

      Monday, April 11th, 2011

      All retirement plans are not the same. In fact, there is such a wide variety of retirement plans that it is worth it to read up on your choices. Here’s a brief look at the different plans and what they have to offer.

      The traditional 401(k). Most people have such a retirement savings plan, and it works like this. The plan …

      continue reading

      10 Little-Known Tax Breaks (That May Provide BIG Savings)

      Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

      The Internal Revenue Code is around 700 pages thick – not as long as War and Peace or Remembrance of Things Past, but much drier reading. However, some very nice tax breaks may be found within its pages and amendments. Not all are well-known.

      Reducing America’s debt. If you write a check to the federal government to help decrease the national debt, it counts …

      continue reading

      An Inherited IRA

      Monday, March 28th, 2011

      When the owner of an IRA passes away, his or her heirs must be aware of the rules and regulations affecting the inherited IRA. Ignorance could lead you straight toward a tax disaster.

      Please note that this is simply an overview. Rather than use this article as a guide, use it as a prelude before you talk to a …

      continue reading

      Is Inflation Back?

      Monday, March 21st, 2011

      Prices are rising. In February, the Consumer Price Index advanced 0.5%. That follows increases of 0.4% in December and January. This doesn’t exactly represent runaway inflation –to give you some perspective, the CPI rose by almost 1.1% per month across 1979 – but it may be cause for concern.

      Producer prices have also jumped. The government’s Producer Price Index climbed …

      continue reading

      Should You Own Your Home Free & Clear Before You Retire?

      Monday, February 28th, 2011

      At first glance, the answer would seem to be “absolutely, if at all possible.” Retiring with less debt … isn’t that a good thing? Why not make a few extra mortgage payments to get the job done?

      In reality, things are not so cut and dried. There is a fundamental opportunity cost to consider. If you decide to put more money …

      continue reading

      The 2% Opportunity

      Monday, February 7th, 2011

      What would you do with an extra $1,000 or $2,000? The Tax Relief Act of 2010 will give many of us the equivalent of a 2% raise in 2011. Employee payroll taxes have been cut from 6.2% to 4.2% this year. So if you pay into Social Security, you are looking at a rise in your take-home pay. What are your plans …

      continue reading

      8 Ways To Protect What You’ve Saved

      Monday, January 24th, 2011

      Estate planning is a task that people tend to put off, as any discussion of “the end” tends to be off-putting. However, those who leave this world without their financial affairs in good order risk leaving their heirs some significant problems along with their legacies.

      No matter what your age, here are some things you may want to accomplish this year with …

      continue reading

      IRA Changes For 2011 – What You Need To Know!

      Monday, January 17th, 2011

      You can’t defer income resulting from a Roth IRA conversion in 2011. If you converted a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in 2010, you could opt to divide the income resulting from the conversion between your 2011 and 2012 federal tax returns. (If you did go Roth in 2010, you have until October 17, 2011 to choose this income deferral option.) …

      continue reading

      5 Ways To Break Bad Money Habits

      Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

      Many of us plan thoughtfully for all kinds of life goals. Yet many of us spend impulsively, using our money on the moment rather than saving or investing it for the future. This last recession caused us to take a second look at where our dollars go. If you seem to be making adequate money and yet dollars still appear to …

      continue reading

      8 Tips For Planning YOUR Retirement

      Monday, January 3rd, 2011

      Planning financially for retirement may feel overwhelming. For some, that feeling is what keeps them from really focusing on and implementing a plan. If you haven’t started planning for your retirement – do yourself a favor and make TODAY the day you begin.

      1. The earlier the better.

      Time is definitely one of your greatest allies. A person who begins …

      continue reading

      The Bottomline On The 2010 Tax Relief Act

      Monday, December 20th, 2010

      A holiday gift for taxpayers? After a 277-148 passage in the House and an 81-19 approval in the Senate, President Obama signed the 2010 Tax Relief Act into law on December 17, extending the Bush-era tax cuts. Here is the impact of the new legislation:

      Current federal income tax rates are preserved for everyone. The federal income tax brackets will …

      continue reading

      A Tax Compromise?

      Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

      Many expected a deal – but not necessarily this one. Political and economic analysts widely believed that President Obama and Republican leaders would reach a compromise on the Bush-era tax cuts. Many felt a deal would be struck early in December. Yet few forecast how agreeable the President would be.

      The Bush-era tax cuts would be extended for the wealthy. Under the bipartisan plan, the EGTRRA …

      continue reading

      Create A Pool Of Healthcare Dollars That Will Grow In Any Market

      Monday, November 29th, 2010

      How will you pay for long term care? The sad fact is that most people don’t know the answer to that question. But a solution is available.

      As baby boomers leave their careers behind, long term care insurance will become very important in their financial strategies. The reasons to get an LTC policy …

      continue reading

      The Top 10 Financial To-Do’s (for 2010 into 2011)

      Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

      The end of the year is a good time to review your personal finances. What are your financial, business or life priorities for 2011? Try to specify the goals you want to accomplish. Think about the consistent investing, saving or budgeting methods you could use to realize them. Also, consider these year-end moves.

      1. Think about adjusting or timing your income and tax …

      continue reading

      The Implications If The Bush-Era Tax Cuts Expire

      Monday, November 22nd, 2010

      As 2010 draws to a close, Congress will likely act to extend the Bush-era tax cuts into 2011 or beyond. However, this is the same Congress that has done nothing about the estate tax for a year. So let’s play “what if” for a moment. What if we witness an “epic fail” on Capitol Hill and the EGTRRA …

      continue reading

      The New Bubble Economy. Is QE2 To Blame?

      Monday, November 15th, 2010

      Is the glass half full? The Federal Reserve has committed to buying $600 billion worth of Treasury bonds between now and June, and it wants to purchase up to $900 billion in debt by the end of September 2011. This second round of quantitative easing has been dubbed QE2. In a nutshell, the effort would pour cash into the banking system to promote lending and …

      continue reading

      2010 Year-End Money Moves To Consider

      Monday, November 8th, 2010

      What has changed for you in 2010? Did you start a new job – or leave a job behind? Did you retire? Did you start a family? If some notable changes occurred in your personal or professional life, then you will want to review your finances before this year ends and the next one begins.

      Even if your 2010 has been comparatively uneventful, the end …

      continue reading


      Thursday, November 4th, 2010

      GOP picks up 60 seats in the House, 6 in the Senate. The 2010 midterm elections are over and frustration has prompted change on Capitol Hill. Republicans will control the House with at least 239 seats; Democrats will retain a narrow majority in the Senate with at least 51 seats.

      Here comes gridlock. “We’re determined to stop the agenda Americans have rejected and to turn …

      continue reading

      Social Security: Apply Now or Take It Later?

      Monday, November 1st, 2010

      Now or later? When it comes to the question of Social Security income, the choice looms large. Should you apply now to get earlier payments? Or wait for a few years to get larger checks?

      Consider what you know (and don’t know). You know how much retirement money you have; you may have a clear projection of retirement income from other potential sources. Other factors …

      continue reading

      How Much Retirement Income Will You Really Need?

      Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

      What is enough? What is not enough? If you’re considering retiring in the near future, you’ve probably heard or read that you need about 70% of your end salary to live comfortably in retirement. This estimate is frequently repeated … but that doesn’t mean it is true for everyone. It may not be true for you.

      You won’t learn how much retirement income you’ll need by …

      continue reading

      Is The U.S. Dollar In Peril?

      Monday, October 25th, 2010

      A favorite doomsday scenario. Have you heard about the forthcoming collapse of the dollar? Well, if you turn on your computer, your radio and even your TV, you just may. With the Federal Reserve poised to increase the money supply, the commentary on this topic is heating up again.

      The scenario has variations, but the basic outline goes like this: An unexpected political or economic …

      continue reading

      Medicare Enrollment Season Starts Nov. 15th

      Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

      This fall, we have another Medicare enrollment season coming – and in the wake of health care reform, some things will start to change while other things will remain relatively the same.

      Will Part B premiums increase in 2011? They probably won’t – at least not for most Part B enrollees. Most analysts think premiums will remain at or very near 2010 levels: $96.40 monthly …

      continue reading

      Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

      Monday, October 18th, 2010

      Mortgages haven’t been this cheap for decades. You would have to go back to the 1950s to find mortgage rates that compare with those in 2010. On October 14, Freddie Mac’s weekly survey estimated the average interest rate on the 15-year FRM at 3.62% (a record low) with 0.7 points. Additionally, the 30-year FRM was averaging 4.19% nationally with 0.8 points.

      On October 14, the …

      continue reading

      Spend Less Now, Live It Up Later – Why A Little Delayed Gratification May Help You Retire

      Monday, October 4th, 2010

      Baby boomers are known for wanting more out of life – and for living life on their own terms. They also get a bad rap as a generation weaned on instant gratification – wanting it all now, wanting to have it both ways.

      It is neither wise nor truthful to paint a generation with a broad brush. What we do know in 2010 is that …

      continue reading

      6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Take Money Out Of Your 401(k)

      Monday, September 27th, 2010

      Recently, you may have heard about a spike in 401(k) withdrawals. The evidence is not merely anecdotal. Fidelity Investments recently issued its 2010 overview of the 401(k) accounts it administers and found that 22% of participants had outstanding loans from these retirement savings plans, with the average loan at $8,650. In 2Q 2010, a record 62,000 of Fidelity’s 401(k) participants had taken hardship withdrawals – …

      continue reading

      The Small Business Jobs Act – Good, Bad or Ugly?

      Monday, September 20th, 2010

      The long-stalled Small Business Jobs Act cleared a big hurdle on September 16 – it passed by a vote of 61-38 in the Senate. The measure will almost certainly pass in the House and become law later this month.

      So what is in this bill? Will its perks and offerings really lead employers to step up hiring? And did anybody report on the interesting provision …

      continue reading

      Obama’s Midterm Tax Proposals – A Second Stimulus Package, An Election Ploy, or Just Plain Smart?

      Monday, September 13th, 2010

      Many Americans are frustrated with the pace of the economic recovery; many Democrats are worried that their party will lose its majority in the House and Senate. As elections loom, President Obama has offered a new platform of tax initiatives for Congress to consider and potentially approve.

      Extending the Bush-era tax cuts (for the middle class). President Obama wants to extend the EGTRRA and JGTRRA …

      continue reading

      Combat Identity Theft By Freezing & Thawing Your Credit Record

      Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

      If you are worried about getting hacked – and, these days, who isn’t – a credit freeze is a precautionary measure that may be worth considering.
      Is a credit freeze an iron-clad, 100% guaranteed way to protect yourself from Identity Theft? Unfortunately, no. Just about anyone could fall victim, just like almost anyone could become a victim of a home burglary. But ask yourself this – …

      continue reading

      Smart Financial Moves To Make Before You Say “I Do”

      Monday, August 23rd, 2010

      Are you marrying soon? Have you recently married? As you begin your life together, it’s important for you to start planning your financial future together and putting your finances on the same page. Here are some priorities you might want to write down on your financial to-do list …

      Plan for retirement. There is a chance that decades from now, many of us who are …

      continue reading

      What Financial Documents Should I Keep On File?

      Monday, August 16th, 2010

      You might be surprised how many people have financial documents scattered all over the house – on the kitchen table, underneath old newspapers, in the hall closet, in the basement. If this describes your financial “filing system”, you may have a tough time keeping tabs on your financial life.

      Organization will help you, your advisors … and even your heirs. If you’ve got a meeting …

      continue reading

      Healthcare Reforms May Lead To Short-term Aid For Medicare & Social Security

      Monday, August 9th, 2010

      Could Medicare soon be in better shape? Maybe. At the start of August, Medicare’s trustees reported to Congress that Medicare should remain financially in the black through 2029, a 12-year improvement over last year’s estimate. They credited the healthcare reforms carried out by Congress and the Obama administration, citing greater efficiency that would translate to savings for the program.

      However, there is no guarantee that …

      continue reading

      Will The Bush-Era Tax Cuts Be Saved?

      Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

      In July, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that very few taxpayers would be affected if the landmark tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 expired. “I do not believe it will affect growth,” he calmly commented on ABC’s This Week. Many legislators and observers on Wall Street and Main Street are far less calm about their potential end.

      Why should they end now? The federal …

      continue reading

      6 Ways To Save For College (While Saving For YOUR Retirement)

      Monday, July 26th, 2010

      It can be done. All across America, families are meeting a mighty financial challenge – the challenge of paying college costs with retirement potentially on the horizon. How do they do it? They go about it consistently; they also get creative.

      First, make sure the priorities are in the right order. Strange as it may sound, your retirement may need to take precedence over your …

      continue reading

      Protecting Your Individual Retirement Account

      Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

      Question: I will retire in 5 years. How can I protect my money, both now and in the future?

      Answer: When you talk about “protection”, I believe you mean principal protection. However, when I hear the word protection, I believe that what you really want to know is how to grow and manage your nest egg so it can generate a steady …

      continue reading

      Should You Downsize & Simplify For Retirement?

      Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

      You want to retire, and you own a large home that is nearly or fully paid off. The kids are gone, but the upkeep costs haven’t fallen. Should you retire and keep your home? Or sell your home and retire? Maybe it’s time to downsize.

      Lower expenses could put more cash in your pocket. If your home isn’t paid off yet, have you considered how …

      continue reading

      How LTC Insurance Can Help Protect You & Your Retirement Assets

      Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

      How will you pay for long term care? The sad fact is that most people don’t know the answer to that question. But a solution is available.

      As baby boomers leave their careers behind, long term care insurance will become very important in their financial strategies. The reasons to get an LTC policy after age 50 are very compelling. Your premium payments buy you access …

      continue reading

      The 4% Withdrawal Rule – Fact or Fiction?

      Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

      When retirement planners try to estimate just how much money a couple or individual should take out of their savings annually, their model scenarios often assume a 4% annual withdrawal rate. Why is 4% used so frequently? Was that percentage plucked out of thin air? No, it actually became popular back in the 1990s.

      The “Trinity Study” helped popularize the 4% guideline. In 1998, a …

      continue reading

      Taxing the Rich to Pay for Health Care

      Monday, June 21st, 2010

      In 2013, wealthy Americans will pay extra Medicare taxes. Congress, President Obama and the IRS are putting a surcharge on the wealthy to help fund the health care reforms.

      • Beginning in 2013, joint filers with adjusted gross incomes of $250,000 or greater and single filers with AGI of $200,000 or greater will have to pay 0.9% extra in FICA taxes (that is, Social Security and Medicare …

        continue reading

        Interest Rates On Fixed Mortgages Are Under 5%.

        Monday, June 7th, 2010

        The 2010 European debt crisis has been bad for the euro and bad for stocks, but there is a positive consequence emerging here in the U.S. – conventional mortgage rates are back below 5% again. On June 3, Freddie Mac’s Weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey found average rates on 30-year home loans at 4.79%. That’s .3% lower than in the January 7 survey.

        Now let’s …

        continue reading

        Interpreting the Recent Stock Market Correction – A blip in the bull market? Or is more selling ahead? A look at some opinions.

        Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

        Sooner or later, a bull market experiences a correction: a decline of at least 10% from a peak. We’ve now seen the first correction in the present bull market: the Dow went below 10,000 on May 25 (and rebounded).

        When a correction occurs, there is the chance that it portends something greater – that is, the eventual end of a bull. With so much talk …

        continue reading

        The 2 Biggest Retirement Misconceptions

        Friday, May 21st, 2010

        We’ve all heard about the “new retirement”, the mix of work and play that many of us assume we will have in our lives one day. We do not expect “retirement” to be all leisure. While this is becoming a cultural assumption among baby boomers, it is interesting to see that certain financial assumptions haven’t really changed with the times. In particular, there are …

        continue reading

        Why The European Debt Crisis & Greece Have Wall Street Stressed

        Monday, May 10th, 2010

        It would be wonderful if the U.S. financial markets could “decouple” themselves from what is going on in Greece, Portugal and Spain. Unfortunately, the debt situation in these countries is like a ripple in a pond. The question is, how strong will the ripple ultimately be and will its full force reach our markets?

        The problem. Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland are all carrying …

        continue reading

        An Incredibly Wild & Volatile Stock Market Thursday On Wall Street

        Friday, May 7th, 2010

        Did a mistake make a selloff more severe? The Dow Jones Industrial Average settled at 10,520.32 Thursday after a 347.80 loss, with fears over European sovereign debt affecting Wall Street. Yet the 347.80 decline was just half the story. The Dow also saw its greatest-ever intraday swoon Thursday, diving 998.50 below the open at one point and taking an intraday swing of 1,007 points. …

        continue reading

        Main Street’s anger over Wall Street reaches the Senate floor

        Monday, May 3rd, 2010

        Another reform bill is now making its way through the Senate – a bill that would reregulate the financial services industry with a few goals in mind:

      • Preventing failures of large banks and financial services firms, or at least insulating taxpayers and the economy in such an emergency
      • Creating a new financial watchdog agency to protect consumers
      • Tightening regulations on derivatives
      • Banning banks from proprietary trading (with the “Volcker …

        continue reading

        Which Retirement Plan Is Right For You?

        Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

        All retirement plans are not the same. In fact, there is such a wide variety of retirement plans that it is worth it to read up on your choices. Here’s a brief look at the different plans and what they have to offer.

        The Traditional 401(k). Most people have such a retirement savings plan, and it works like this. The plan is funded with pre-tax …

        continue reading

        Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage? Maybe … Maybe Not!

        Monday, April 26th, 2010

        To pay or not to pay … that is the question. It sounds good, right? Pay off the mortgage and suddenly you have no more monthly payments, better cash flow, and the opportunity to make other investments. After all, buying a home is an investment, but owning a home is the American Dream. Right?

        While owning a home free and clear may seem like the obvious …

        continue reading

        Half of Americans aren’t paying federal income taxes. Is that right?

        Monday, April 19th, 2010

        A provocative statistic. Last July, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center (a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution) estimated that 47% of Americans would not owe a penny to the IRS for tax year 2009.
        The White House has projected the federal deficit at $1.6 trillion for 2010 – that’s about 10.6% of our GDP, a percentage unseen since the 1940s. So is …

        continue reading

        The Fed Stopped Buying Mortgage-Linked Securities – How Will This Impact The Real Estate Market?

        Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

        The Fed pulled out of the mortgage market. On March 31, 2010, the Federal Reserve halted its 15-month-long program to buy up toxic mortgage-linked securities. Of all the things the Fed did to try and heal the economy and financial markets, this may have been its most crucial move. It was March 2009 when the program really began to get rolling. Guess when the current …

        continue reading

        Could You Raise Your Social Security Income By $1,000 A Month?

        Friday, April 2nd, 2010

        How filling out Form SSA-521 could help you put more money in your mailbox.

        A couple of years ago, Boston University economics professor Laurence Kotlikoff publicized a mindblowing discovery: retirees could dramatically increase their Social Security checks by reapplying for Social Security benefits. It was entirely legal; it was an opportunity that had lay unnoticed for years. It was soon discussed on National Public Radio …

        continue reading

        Bond Investing For Retirees – Multiple Choices & Complications

        Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

        Bond investing basics are simple. When you buy a bond, the bond issuer – either a government or corporation – pays you an agreed-upon rate of interest known as the coupon rate. In addition, you get your original investment back when the bond reaches a maturity date.

        Bonds come in many flavors: taxable and tax-exempt, long- and short-term, AAA-rated and junk, U.S. and foreign, inflation-protected, fixed-rate …

        continue reading

        How Will Obamacare Affect Your Small Business?

        Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

        Increased costs or savings in years to come? What do the federal health care reforms mean for your company? Will they lead to thousands of dollars in extra costs and more paperwork? Or will federal subsidies make this a “game changer” for small companies that have struggled to provide insurance plans?

        If you employ 50 or more, you will face a major choice. Businesses with 50 …

        continue reading

        Obamacare – Separating Facts From Myths

        Friday, March 26th, 2010

        Confusing doesn’t even begin to describe it. Throughout the very long debate over health care reform, a great deal of misinformation (spurred by presumption or misunderstanding) was circulating. Additionally, many changes and alterations to the proposed law were made along the way. At this point, some of the arguments your friends, neighbors or co-workers continue to debate don’t even factor into the legislation signed by …

        continue reading

        Health Care Changes in America

        Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

        The House approves the Senate bill. Not a single Republican voted for it, but 219 Democrats did – and by a vote of 219-212, the House of Representatives sent the Senate’s version of landmark healthcare legislation toward President Obama’s desk. The President could sign the bill into law as early as March 23.

        But the fight is not over. The House of Representatives also passed …

        continue reading

        Should YOU Retire Early?

        Monday, March 15th, 2010

        While it may be possible, it is not always advisable.

        Do you dream of retiring before you turn 60? How about before you turn 50? Well if you do, you might want to think twice before you make the move. If your heart is set on leaving work early, you want to be sure to leave with the right mindset and the right estimation of your …

        continue reading

        Retirement Planning for Divorced Women

        Monday, March 8th, 2010

        You have just gone through one of the most challenging and difficult periods that a woman can experience in her life – a divorce. While many things may still be in up in the air, one aspect of your life that you should make sure you’re in control is your finances.

        Retirement planning for divorced women is not that much different than retirement planning for …

        continue reading


        Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

        In 2010, anyone may convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. No income limits will stand in the way of the conversion. Should you do it? Here’s why it may (or may not) make sense for you to go Roth this year.

        Why you might want to consider it. A Roth IRA permits tax-free growth and tax-free income distributions in retirement (assuming you are …

        continue reading

        How and When to Sign Up for Medicare

        Monday, January 25th, 2010

        Medicare enrollment is automatic for some of us. In fact, anyone who has received a Social Security check or 24 months worth of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B. Part A is hospital insurance; Part B is medical insurance.

        If you’re getting Social Security checks and approaching age 65, you’ll get a Medicare card in the …

        continue reading

        How Fast The Stock Markets Recover

        Monday, January 18th, 2010

        The stock market is amazingly resilient. You might be surprised at how fast the stock market can change … for the better. Let’s look at how the market has recovered remarkably – and quickly – from some notable downturns.

        2008-2009. The collapse of the subprime mortgage markets triggered a recession and made 2008 the poorest year for stocks since 1931. The Dow Jones Industrial Average …

        continue reading

        5 Financial New Year’s Resolutions

        Monday, January 4th, 2010

        Okay. It’s that time of year – the time for new year’s resolutions. They can include financial resolutions. Here are some possibilities for 2010.

        Control non-mortgage debt. Experian says the average American carries about $17,000 in debt unrelated to home loans. Too much of this is simply credit card debt. So how about paying down, paying off and maybe getting rid of some cards?

        How much financial …

        continue reading


        Monday, December 21st, 2009

        Do you see a warning light flashing? Americans with high net worth and high incomes are preparing for the likelihood of higher taxes in 2011 and subsequent years. High earners are almost certainly going to take the hit if the EGTRRA and JGTRRA cuts fade away at the end of 2010. Here’s a summary of what’s happening – and a look at what might happen. …

        continue reading

        Dollar Cost Averaging Explained

        Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

        Are you investing inconsistently…or not at all? Inconsistent investment can sabotage your retirement savings efforts. There’s a way to avoid that problem: a strategy called Dollar Cost Averaging.

        By investing equal dollar amounts on a regular monthly basis, you can plan to build wealth in a way you can afford today.

        DCA to the rescue. Many people think they can’t afford to invest – their budgets …

        continue reading

        6 Steps To Get Out Of Debt

        Monday, December 14th, 2009

        Every day, people draw on money they don’t actually have – via credit cards, payday loans, home equity lines of credit, and even their 401(k)s. Many of them end up making minimum payments on these high-interest loans – a sure way to stay indebted forever. If this is your situation, you may be wondering: how do I get out of debt? Let me give you …

        continue reading

        Money & Your Happiness

        Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

        Does money actually buy a degree of happiness? In this recessionary holiday season, it is worth thinking about the effect money has on our lives. What role does money play in your happiness? Is that role overrated?

        Most psychologists and sociologists will tell you that our happiness comes largely from social interaction. But studies indicate that there is a direct correlation between wealth and a kind …

        continue reading


Disclaimer/Legal Notice:
Bill's blogs, articles, and economic reports are meant to provide you with general investment, financial and retirement information. They are not designed to be a definitive investment guide or to take the place of a qualified financial planner or other professional. Given the risks involved in investing, there is absolutely no guarantee that the strategies or methods suggested on Bill's website will ever be profitable. Bill Losey Retirement Solutions, LLC does not assume liability of any kind for any losses that may be sustained as a result of applying the methods suggested and any such liability is hereby expressly disclaimed. Portions of the content on this website were prepared by Inc.

Sitemap | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy