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Two Tax-Friendly Retirement Plans for the Self-Employed

December 2017

Like most business owners, you may devote most of your time, energy, and profits to running and growing your company. But keep in mind that you are likely on your own when it comes to saving money for retirement. This is not the only reason it may be worth the effort to divert a sizable… Read more

Better Late Than Never

December 2017

Federal estate and gift taxes affect only relatively large estates. That’s because individuals can exclude a very high amount of assets from federal estate and gift tax liability. The lifetime exclusion amount for individuals is $5.49 million in 2017 and indexed annually for inflation. Assets left to a surviving spouse, which aren’t subject to federal… Read more

How a Pension Could Affect Social Security Benefits

December 2017

If you earned a pension while working in private industry, you probably also paid Social Security taxes on your earnings. If that’s the case, the two retirement income streams are independent of each other, and you can enjoy the full benefits of both. However, if you earned a pension while NOT paying into Social Security… Read more

Market Measures: Beyond the Dow

December 2017

When you hear that the market is up or down — on the car radio or around the water cooler — what does that really mean? More often than not, it reflects movement in the two most well-known stock market indexes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500, which tend to… Read more

Consider a Roth for Tax-Free Retirement Income

December 2017

Contributing to a traditional IRA or an employer-sponsored retirement plan may offer a current-year tax benefit by reducing taxable income. However, distributions — including any earnings — are taxed as ordinary income. By contrast, contributions to a Roth IRA or a designated Roth account in an employer retirement plan do not reduce current income, but… Read more

HOT TOPIC: Junk Jitters: What’s Behind the Exodus from High-Yield Bonds?

December 2017

For the one-week period ending on November 15, 2017, investors withdrew a net $4.43 billion from U.S. funds holding high-yield bonds (often called junk bonds) — the third largest exodus from such funds on record.1 The high-yield market stabilized over the next two days, but the mass sell-off rang alarm bells for some market analysts…. Read more

Required Minimum Distribution Rules

November 2017

Many people wait as long as possible to withdraw funds from tax-deferred retirement plans such as IRAs and 401(k)s in order to give their investments more time to grow. But the IRS won’t let you postpone the income taxes indefinitely. Once you reach age 70½, you generally must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from… Read more

Stacking Up Tax Breaks for Business Investments

November 2017

There are times in the lifecycle of a small business when spending money now could really pay off later. New equipment or technology might help streamline operations or improve employee productivity. Maybe a larger facility is needed or there’s an attractive opportunity to expand into a new market. The U.S. tax code generally encourages investments… Read more

FAFSA in the Fall for Lower Stress

November 2017

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) used to be a family “stressfest” right after the winter holidays. Parents and students scrambled to estimate their prior-year tax information after the FAFSA became available on January 1, and then had to update the information when they finalized their returns. The situation improved in… Read more

Medicare Open Enrollment

November 2017

Each year between October 15 and December 7, Medicare offers an open enrollment period during which beneficiaries can make changes among several coverage options: Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance, referred to as Original Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage, which replaces Original Medicare and often includes prescription drug coverage and other… Read more

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