Understanding the importance of life insurance is one thing. Understanding the tax rules is quite another. As insurance products have evolved and become more sophisticated, the line separating insurance vehicles from investment vehicles has grown blurry. To differentiate between the two, a mix of complex rules and exceptions now governs the taxation of insurance products. If you have neither the time nor the inclination to decipher the IRS regulations, here are some life insurance tax tips and background information to help you make sense of it all.
Saving for retirement is not easy, but using your retirement savings wisely can be just as challenging. How much of your savings can you withdraw each year? Withdraw too much and you run the risk of running out of money. Withdraw too little and you may miss out on a more comfortable retirement lifestyle.
Bonds may not be as glamorous as stocks or commodities, but they are a significant component of most investment portfolios. Bonds are traded in huge volumes every day, but their full usefulness is often underappreciated and underestimated.
The specter of a U.S. federal government shutdown continues to loom this week as Congress has just 12 days to agree on a budget before the October 1 deadline. House Republicans released a temporary measure on Sunday which could push the deadline out another month, with the hopes of a final solution coming in the interim. However, that proposal has encountered pushback even from within their own ranks, not to mention from across the aisle, and has yet to be voted on. The bad news is it looks like the government is headed for another shutdown; the good news is the stock market has seen this before. (more…)
“It turns out my job was not to find great investments but to help create great investors,” writes Carl Richards, author of “The Behavior Gap.” From increasing our budget mindfulness to taking a steadier approach to investing, Richards has drawn attention to how our unexamined behaviors and emotions can be to our detriment when it comes to living a happy and financially sound life. In many cases, we make poor financial decisions when experiencing panic or anxiety due to personal or widespread events. 1 (more…)
Information vs. instinct. When it comes to investment choices, many people believe they have a “knack” for choosing good investments. But what exactly is that “knack” based on? The fact is, the choices we make with our assets can be strongly influenced by factors, many of them emotional, that we may not even be aware of. (more…)
You can sum up the appeal of a Roth IRA in three words: federal tax benefit. Potential earnings in a backdoor Roth IRA grow tax free as long as the owner abides by the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) rules, and withdrawals are federally tax free once you reach age 59½ and have held the Roth IRA for at least five years.1 (more…)
Raising a family is rewarding ─ and expensive. Consider taking these steps to support your family financially through a program of smart investing.
Building a career and raising a family requires management skills. Juggling your time, priorities, and money now while planning for the future can be daunting. Saving now to send your kids to college, take care of your parents as they age, and pursuing a comfortable retirement can be challenging. (more…)
You don’t want to pay more in federal income tax than you have to. With that in mind, here are five things to consider when it comes to keeping more of your income.
Investors are routinely warned about allowing emotion to influence their decisions. However, they are less routinely cautioned about their preconceptions and biases that may color their financial choices. In a battle between the facts & biases, our biases may win. If we acknowledge this tendency, we may be able to avoid some unexamined choices when … Continue reading “Do Our Emotion or Biases Affect Our Financial Choice”
Financial generalizations are as old as time. Some have been around for decades, while others have only recently joined their ranks. Let’s examine a few common retirement assumptions. Retirement means I can stop investing. In the past, retirement was viewed as an “end” in many ways. These days though, retirement is often seen as an opportunity … Continue reading “Debunking Common Retirement Assumptions”
Byron Wien recently passed away. He was a true Wall Street icon. I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Wien once when I was seated behind him at an investment conference during the depths of the Great Financial Crisis (GFC). Mr. Wien was probably best known for his annual top ten list of surprises … Continue reading “How Could the Markets Surprise Us in 2024?”
Stocks are off to a solid start in 2024. January gains are particularly enjoyable because of the old adage from the Stock Trader’s Almanac, “As goes January, so goes the year.” Nearly 75 years of historical data shows that when the S&P 500 has risen in January, the average gain for the remainder of the … Continue reading “Market Update – Solid Start to 2024”
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