401K

401(k): Safety in Allocation

Peaks and valleys of the market probably give you fits about your investments in retirement savings accounts. Nobody can tell when Wall Street’s ups will peak and its lows bottom out, but you can protect yourself with patience and a cool head.

Misguided 401(k) Asset Mixes

People often have lousy asset allocation in their retirement plans. Overdone risk avoidance and other behavioral tics combine to ensure they probably will not create the wealth they need to retire comfortably.

Here is a conversation I've had too many times: An acquaintance says proudly that he invests the maximum into his 401(k). I ask what allocation he's made between equities and bonds. He says he just divides his contributions equally among the four investment choices the plan offers. I cringe.

Spotting Good Mutual Funds

The explosion of the 401(k) and decades of dwindling employer pensions powered mutual funds to dominance in the investing landscape. The funds, once meant to simplify investing for the little guy, flourished to the point of becoming almost as confusing to pick as individual stocks. What can you look for?

Retiring, Your Lifestyle Intact

No matter what tools we use to calculate the numbers, we financial advisors always come to a plain and simple truth: Some clients are well-positioned for retirement and others are not. Which are you? What advice do you need?

Acrophobia at Market Highs

Despite a small slide in September and recent days' whipsawing, U.S. stocks remain near their all-time high. Should you worry that this bull market is ending? No. Such records are meaningless. Moreover, there’s a leeriness in the air – call it acrophobia, or fear of market heights – which usually is the opposite of a signal that a rally is doomed.

Getting Investing Discipline

Saving money is like exercising. Often when people start saving late in life, just like in exercising, they try to do too much too fast. When that happens, pain is often the result, and they quit.

When saving money, if you put away too much too fast and it hurts your lifestyle, you likely stop saving. In both situations, your health (financial and physical) is worsened.

Protecting Inherited IRAs

Your own individual retirement account is generally exempt from the reach of creditors, but an inherited account may not be. If you plan to pass on an IRA to heirs, read on to learn how to better safeguard the money.

The 401(k) Ignorance Factor

Too many Americans don’t understand how their 401(k) plans work, and how to take full advantage of this excellent retirement savings vehicle. Such neglect is very harmful to their long-term well-being.

Understanding Your 401(k)

The 401(k), launched almost 30 years ago as a retirement savings alternative for federal civilian employees, now constitutes most working investors’ main nest egg, if not an entire household’s primary asset. Still, investors risk their future with confusion about details of these accounts.

These vehicles are typically “the place to start with savings,” said Ken Weingarten, president of Weingarten Associates in Lawrenceville, N.J., and speaker at an advisory panel.

Leaving IRA $ to Charity

Bequeathing some assets to your favorite charity, rather than leaving it to your heirs, can spare them potential tax headaches and help a needy cause in times of tight budgets. Before you donate, though, think how your heirs might react and do your homework on the charity itself.

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