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Are UITs for You?

April 2017

When you invest in mutual funds, you are actually buying shares in an investment company. A unit investment trust (UIT) is also an investment company, but it is structured differently than a mutual fund company and offers unique features that may appeal to some investors. A Fixed, Time-Limited Portfolio A UIT purchases a portfolio of… Read more

HOT TOPIC: Debt Ceiling: A Stop Sign for Federal Borrowing

April 2017

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 suspended the federal government’s statutory debt limit — commonly called the debt ceiling — through March 15, 2017. That deadline came and went with little fanfare as Congress focused on other matters, but the debt ceiling cannot be ignored for long, and it’s likely to become a focal point… Read more

LLCs: Hybrid Structure May Offer Best of Both Worlds

March 2017

A limited liability company (LLC) provides many of the legal advantages of a corporation but can choose to be taxed as a partnership or a sole proprietorship. An LLC establishes a separate entity to help shield the business owners’ personal assets from lawsuits brought against the firm by its customers or employees. In theory, the… Read more

Tax Tips on Capital Gains

March 2017

Tax season can be stressful, but it also offers an opportunity to look at the tax implications of your investment strategies and plan for the year ahead. You may want to take time to consider the tax treatment of capital gains. When you sell a capital asset such as an investment or property, the capital… Read more

Chasing Performance vs. Diversification

March 2017

In 2013, the S&P 500 index, generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market as a whole, produced total returns of 32.39% — the highest return for the index since 1997. But the S&P 600, which represents the stocks of smaller companies, returned 41.31%.1–2 Consider a hypothetical investor named Jim, who looked at those returns… Read more

What Is the Roth IRA Five-Year Rule?

March 2017

Information on Roth IRAs often refers to the “five-year rule,” but in fact there are two separate five-year holding requirements that may affect the tax treatment of Roth distributions. The first determines whether a withdrawal of earnings will be tax-free, and the second determines whether a withdrawal of converted principal will be penalty-free. Withdrawal of… Read more

Tax Breaks for College Costs

March 2017

College is expensive, and the costs continue to rise. For the 2016–17 academic year, the average cost of in-state tuition, fees, and room and board at a public university is $20,090. At a private school, the average cost is more than double at $45,370.1 Fortunately, the federal government offers tax benefits that can help ease… Read more

HOT TOPIC: Automating the American Workforce

March 2017

A widely cited University of Oxford study concluded that 47% of U.S. jobs could be automated (i.e., performed by machines) within a decade or two. It may seem unthinkable that about 80 million jobs could be at risk, but this startling prediction isn’t just science fiction.1 As artificial intelligence is combined with robots, sensors, and… Read more

Six Steps to Launching a New Venture

February 2017

According to an annual report that tracks startup activity and trends over time, about 550,000 Americans launched new businesses each month in 2016.1 Better yet, today’s entrepreneurs are more likely to start a business because they spot an opportunity rather than do so out of necessity. Do you have an idea that you would like… Read more

Taxing Social Security Benefits

February 2017

A recent study by the Social Security Administration projected that an average of 56% of households receiving Social Security benefits will owe federal income tax on some or all of their benefits during the period from 2015 to 2050.1 This typically applies to taxpayers who have other substantial income, such as from a pension, investments,… Read more

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