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Converting to a Roth IRA

Submitted by Jeff Rose on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 3:00pm

Turning your individual retirement account into a Roth IRA is not a totally black-and-white decision. Understand the rules first, especially relevant tax laws.

Traditional IRAs are largely based on income tax deferral, which means you get a tax break on your contributions in the current year. In retirement, your withdrawals incur income tax.

Money Literacy: Why So Low?

Submitted by Larry Light on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 9:00am

Many Americans are woefully clueless about finance, to their detriment. But education programs to boost their financial knowledge don’t seem to make them any smarter regarding money. So we should scrap financial literacy endeavors, right? Wrong. We need more and better.

401(k): Safety in Allocation

Submitted by Tim Long on Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 3:00pm

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

Submitted by Rick Kahler on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 9:00am

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

Submitted by Jeff Stimpson on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 3:00pm

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?

Acrophobia at Market Highs

Submitted by Lewis J. Walker on Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 9:00am

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.

Understanding Your 401(k)

Submitted by Jeff Stimpson on Saturday, September 27, 2014 - 3:00pm

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.

Late Savers’ To-do List

Submitted by Cherice Chen on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 3:00pm

The youngest baby boomers are turning 50 this year. If you haven’t already, it’s about time to give retirement planning some serious thoughts. Advisors have a list of basic must-dos for people in this life stage.

“People who come to me in their 40s and 50s are really looking at maximizing everything they can do to prepare for retirement,” said Eve Kaplan, founder of Kaplan Financial Advisors during an advisor panel.

Getting Investing Discipline

Submitted by Ray Ferrara on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 12:00pm

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

Submitted by H. Jude Boudreaux on Monday, October 6, 2014 - 3:00pm

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.

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