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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

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

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

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

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

PPO or HDHP? Making Health Insurance Choices

November 2017

More than half of large U.S. companies offer employees a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).1 When an HDHP is offered, employees often have a choice between the HDHP and a traditional preferred provider organization (PPO) plan. People who buy coverage outside the workplace may face a similar choice. Premiums are generally lower for an HDHP than… Read more

HOT TOPIC: Spanish Showdown, Slow Brexit

November 2017

With separatists in Catalonia pushing for independence, Spain’s democratic government is facing a constitutional crisis. Meanwhile, little progress has been made in negotiations on the terms of the United Kingdom’s pending exit from the European Union. Geopolitical tensions can affect economies and move financial markets. Here’s a closer look at these two political standoffs taking… Read more

Insuring a Home-Based Business

October 2017

Slightly more than half of U.S. businesses are home based, and people who run businesses from their own homes often assume that their homeowners insurance provides sufficient coverage.1 This misconception may expose them to a considerable amount of risk. With standard homeowners insurance, the coverage for business equipment such as computers is often limited to… Read more

Bracing for Higher Rates

October 2017

With inflation ticking higher and the employment situation improving, the Federal Reserve anticipates gradually lifting the benchmark federal funds rate in 2017 and 2018.1  Officials are also discussing plans to shrink the Fed’s huge bond portfolio ($4.5 trillion). Phasing out the bond-buying program could reduce overall demand for government bonds and cause some financial market… Read more

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