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Loan (Photo credit: Philip Taylor PT)

These days, borrowing to pay for college has become a lot more defensive. Not only may student-loan terms be less attractive than they were in the past, but new graduates may also get squeezed if they have to begin repaying their loans before they land a job. Owing in no small part to the still-anemic economic recovery, the student loan default rate…

During a recession, the stock market can lose significant value. This could have a large impact on portfolio returns. Predicting the duration and extent of recessionary periods is almost impossible. During such times, income-producing investments such as dividend-paying stocks and REITs may soften losses, particularly when investors incur negative returns. This means that, if and when…

If you want to take a tax- and penalty-free withdrawal of the portion of a Roth that consists of investment earnings (amount above your initial contribution), you need to be age 59 1/2, disabled, or using the money to pay for a first-time home. However, there’s more to this rule.

The five-year clock doesn't start on the day you opened or funded your Roth IRA account. Rather, it starts…

What to do with that year-end bonus is a pressing concern because bonuses are increasingly supplanting annual pay raises as a means of rewarding employees. Here are a few ways to make the most of your bonus.

Pay Down Debt: Before you put any money into the market, consider paying off your debt. Credit-card debt, which often has a high interest rate, is a good place to start. Also,…

Taxes (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

1. Contribute to your tax-advantaged accounts: One of the best ways to cut your tax bill is to reduce your taxable income. It is important to take advantage of any retirement-plan contributions you can make to reduce your taxable income. You can contribute $17,000 to your 401(k) plan in 2012, and those age 50 or older can save an additional $5,500. Consider…

Investors often ask the question, “Are money-market funds FDIC insured like certificates of deposit and savings accounts?” The short answer is no, money-market fund holders don't have the same guarantees that holders of CDs, money-market deposit accounts, and checking and savings accounts have. However, money-market fund investors were accorded extra protections when the financial crisis…

Stocks or Bonds: Which Are Better?

Conventional wisdom holds that investors should hold bonds in tax-protected vehicles like IRAs and stocks in their taxable accounts. Intuitively, that makes sense. After all, bonds throw off a lot of taxable income, which is taxed at rates as high as 35%. Meanwhile, stocks typically generate much less income, and that dividend income is taxed at a…

Q: Under current law, at what age can you begin receiving Social Security benefits?

A: The earliest age at which you can begin receiving Social Security benefits is 62. However, you will receive a reduced benefit if you retire before your full retirement age.

Q: What are some big mistakes that people make concerning their retirement?

A: Not contributing to an IRA, a 401(k…

With President Obama’s first term in office coming to a close, here’s the result of an investigation into the relationship between the composition of the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government and market performance. The "unified" situation refers to years when the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the White House were all controlled by the same party. The "partially…

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation, is a monthly statistic that measures the change in prices paid consumers for a basket of goods and services. While this measure serves more as an official gauge, a lot of consumers seem to have a different sense of their inflation rate when paying for goods. The question often arises: Why is the official rate seems so much lower than what…