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Investments Resources

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…

No matter what your age or stage of life, targeting a goal for monthly retirement income can seem like a daunting task. Following are four considerations to help you get started.

1. When do you plan to retire?

The first question to ponder is your anticipated retirement age. Many people base their target retirement date on when they're eligible for full Social Security benefits, and…

Many market shocks are short-lived once investors conclude the event is unlikely to cause lasting economic damage. Still, major market downturns such as the 2000 dot-com bust and the 2008-09 credit crisis are powerful reminders that we cannot control or predict exactly how, where, or when precarious situations will arise.

Market risk refers to the possibility that an investment will…

For long-term investment goals such as retirement, time can be one of your biggest advantages. That's because time allows your investment dollars to do some of the hard work for you through a mathematical principle known as compounding.

The snowball effect

The premise behind compounding is fairly simple. You invest to earn money, and if those returns are then reinvested, that money…

If your financial plan for 2017 didn't work out the way you wanted it to, don't beat yourself up. Instead, ask yourself the following questions to determine what you can learn from reflecting on your financial situation in the last year.

Did you meet your financial goals and expectations for 2017? Perhaps you started the year with some financial goals in mind. You wanted to establish a…

It's a vicious cycle: Money is one of the greatest causes of stress, prolonged stress can lead to serious health issues, and health issues often result in yet more financial struggles.¹ The clear connection between health and wealth is why it's so important to develop and maintain lifelong plans to manage both.

The big picture

Consider the following statistics:

1. More than 20…

While no one can predict the future, the possibility of tax reform is once again in the spotlight. If it occurs, it may very well include repeal of the federal estate tax and related changes to the federal gift tax, the federal generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax, and the federal income tax basis rules.

History of the federal estate tax

In general, an estate tax is a tax on…

You've been saving diligently for years, and now it's time to think about how to convert the money in your traditional 401(k)s (or similar workplace savings plans) into retirement income. But hold on, not so fast. You may need to take a few steps first.

Evaluate your needs

If you haven't done so, estimate how much income you'll need to meet your desired lifestyle in retirement.…

With all of the costs in maintaining a household and paying for ongoing living expenses, the single most important and critical to the future of the country is that related to the raising of children.

Since 1960, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided estimates of expenditures related to raising a child from birth to age 17. Related expenses range from food and housing…

The choice to use index funds rather than actively managed funds is a significant one. Index funds tend to be rather straightforward, easy-to-own, and cost-effective investment vehicles. But, just like actively managed funds, index funds also have their differences that investors should be aware of.

Cost Still Counts. Different index funds can charge different fees. Funds that are…