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As people move through different stages of life, there are new financial opportunities — and potential pitfalls — around every corner. Have you made any of these mistakes?

Your 50s and 60s

1. Raiding your home equity or retirement funds. It goes without saying that doing so will prolong your debt and/or reduce your nest egg.

2. Not quantifying your expected retirement income. …

An initial public offering (IPO) is the first public sale of stock by a private company. Companies tend to schedule IPOs when investors are feeling good about their financial prospects and are more inclined to take on the risk associated with a new venture.

Thus, IPOs tend to reflect broader economic and market trends. And not surprisingly, 2017 was the busiest year for the global IPO…

Tax deductions and credits are terms often used together when talking about taxes. While you probably know that they can lower your tax liability, you might wonder about the difference between the two.

A tax deduction reduces your taxable income, so when you calculate your tax liability, you're doing so against a lower amount. Essentially, your tax obligation is reduced by an amount…

Often, tax-qualified retirement accounts such as IRAs make up a significant part of one's estate. Naming beneficiaries of an IRA can be an important part of an estate plan. One option is designating a trust as the IRA beneficiary.

This discussion applies to traditional IRAs, not to Roth IRAs. Special considerations apply to beneficiary designations for Roth IRAs.

Why use a trust…

Tax deductions and credits are terms often used together when talking about taxes. While you probably know that they can lower your tax liability, you might wonder about the difference between the two.

A tax deduction reduces your taxable income, so when you calculate your tax liability, you're doing so against a lower amount. Essentially, your tax obligation is reduced by an amount…

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December of last year, fundamentally changes the federal tax landscape for both individuals and businesses. Many of the provisions in the legislation are permanent, others (including most of the tax cuts that apply to individuals) expire at the end of 2025. Here are some of the significant changes you should factor in to any mid-year tax planning. You…

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law in December 2017, approximately doubled the federal gift and estate tax basic exclusion amount to $11.18 million in 2018 (adjusted for inflation in later years). After 2025, the exclusion is scheduled to revert to its pre-2018 level and be cut approximately in half. Otherwise, federal gift and estate taxes remain the same.

Gift tax. Gifts you…

College students and their parents dodged a major bullet with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Initial drafts of the bill included the elimination of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the student loan interest deduction, along with the taxation of tuition waivers, which are used primarily by graduate students and college employees. In the end, none of…

Owning shares of stock or stock funds might increase the value of your portfolio in one of two fundamental ways: capital appreciation (i.e., price increases) and dividend payments. Of the two, capital appreciation carries the greatest potential for return, but it also carries the greatest potential for loss. And any gains or losses are only reaped when you sell your shares.

By contrast…

Nowadays, it's easier than ever to get caught up in the cycle of credit card debt. In fact, it's become a growing problem for many Americans. According to the Federal Reserve, total U.S. credit card payments reached 111.1 billion in 2016, up 7.4% from 2015. 1

If you find that you are struggling to pay down a credit card debt balance, here are some strategies that can help eliminate…