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Don’t Miss These Key Tax Deductions

May 2016

One in three small businesses devote more than 80 hours each year — two full work weeks — to handling federal taxes.1 Because of the complexity of the tax code, it typically benefits small-business owners to take full advantage of every legal tax break they can find. The following deductible business costs could help reduce… Read more

Evaluating a Pension Plan Offer

May 2016

A popular corporate strategy known as “de-risking” involves buying out employee pensions. By shrinking the size of a pension plan, the company can reduce the associated risks and costs and limit the impact of future retirement obligations on current financial performance. About half of workers with pensions can now choose to take their money in… Read more

TIPS for Inflation Protection

May 2016

Inflation was very low in 2014 and 2015, with annual rates of just 0.8% and 0.2%, respectively, as measured by changes in the consumer price index (CPI).1 The Federal Reserve’s decision to begin raising interest rates reflects a belief that inflation will return to its more normal “run rate” of about 2% annually.2 That rate… Read more

Expressing Your Wishes in Advance

May 2016

It’s not pleasant to think about the possibility of being unable to make your own medical or financial decisions. That may explain why many people don’t take the time to draw up appropriate documents expressing their wishes. Regardless of your age or health, it’s better to prepare now — and hope you never need advance… Read more

Managing Your 401(k)

May 2016

More than 73 million Americans actively participate in employer-sponsored defined-contribution plans such as 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans.1 If you are among this group, you’ve taken a big step on the road to retirement, but as with all investing, it’s important to understand your plan and what it can do for you. Here are a… Read more

HOT TOPIC: The World Experiments with Negative Interest Rates

May 2016

As of late April 2016, six central banks in Europe and Asia have adopted negative interest rates in an effort to stimulate their national economies. The experiment began in Denmark in 2012, but the big step came in June 2014 when the European Central Bank (ECB) dropped its benchmark rate below zero. Sweden and Switzerland… Read more

Don’t Let the Weather Put Your Company Underwater

April 2016

Many climatologists expected an unusual warming of the Pacific Ocean (known as an El Niño) to have a dramatic effect on weather patterns in early 2016.1 These warnings may have prompted residents of southwestern states to prepare for a wetter winter. But history reminds us that most communities are vulnerable to some kind of large-scale… Read more

Rates on the Rise

April 2016

A long period of low yields has been challenging for many fixed-income investors, but owning bond investments in a rising interest-rate environment could become even trickier. When interest rates go up, the prices of existing bonds typically fall. Consequently, the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting decisions could affect the entire fixed-income market, from U.S. Treasuries (guaranteed by… Read more

Community Property Laws: Yours, Mine, and Ours

April 2016

The question of asset ownership can be contentious in the event of a divorce, but even in the happiest marriage it may be helpful to understand the laws regarding ownership of property obtained before and during the marriage. Currently, nine states have community property laws: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and… Read more

Protecting Your Assets Under an Umbrella

April 2016

Getting caught in the rain without an umbrella can be an unpleasant experience. Getting caught without appropriate insurance coverage can be more than unpleasant — it could damage your hard-earned financial stability. Having an umbrella policy might make the difference between getting a little “wet” financially and facing a financial downpour. Another Layer of Protection… Read more

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