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One of the most confusing Medicare provisions is the prescription drug coverage gap, often called the "donut hole." It may be clearer if you consider the gap within the annual "lifecycle" of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage. This also applies to drug coverage that is integrated into a Part C Medicare Advantage Plan.

Annual deductible. Prescription drug plans typically have an…

Outstanding student loan debt in the United States has tripled over the last decade, surpassing both auto and credit card debt to take second place behind housing debt as the most common type of household debt.1 Today, more than 44 million Americans collectively owe more than $1.4 trillion in student debt.2 Here are some strategies to pay it off.

Look to your employer for help

The…

The Bipartisan Budget Act passed in early 2018 relaxed some of the rules governing hardship withdrawals from 401(k)s and similar plans. Not all plans offer hardship withdrawals, but the ones that do will be required to comply for plan years beginning in 2019.

In order to take a hardship withdrawal from a 401(k) or similar plan, a plan participant must demonstrate an "immediate and…

One advantage of term life insurance is that it is generally the most cost-effective way to achieve the maximum life insurance protection you can afford. Many people first purchase term life insurance to protect their family's financial interests after a significant life event, such as getting married or the birth of a child.

You may have done the same for your family when you…

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the policymaking branch of the Federal Reserve. One of its primary responsibilities is setting the federal funds target rate. The FOMC meets eight time per year, after which it announces any changes to the target rate. The Federal Reserve (the Fed), through the FOMC, uses the federal funds rate as a means to influence economic growth.

If…

Each year, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) conducts its Retirement Confidence Survey to assess both worker and retiree confidence in financial aspects of retirement. In 2018, as in years past, retirees expressed a higher level of confidence than today's workers (perhaps because "retirement" is less of an abstract concept to those actually living it). However, worker confidence…

Buying a home can be a major expenditure. Fortunately, federal tax benefits are still available, even after recent tax reform legislation, to help make homeownership more affordable. There may also be tax benefits under state law.

Mortgage interest deduction

One of the most important tax benefits of owning a home is that you may be able to deduct the mortgage interest you pay. If you…

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…