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It's one of the most important—maybe even the most important question—in the fund world. It is possible for investors to reach their financial goals using either approach, or by blending the two. Using an all-index portfolio is generally a low-cost, low-maintenance way to go. On the other hand, investors can also buy and hold active funds; the key is doing their homework and having the…

The following sequence may make sense for retirees to preserve the tax-saving benefits of tax-sheltered investments for as long as possible.

1) For retirees over age 70 1/2, the first stop for withdrawals are those accounts that carry required minimum distributions, or RMDs, such as Traditional IRAs and company retirement plans such as 401(k)s (to avoid paying penalties).

2) For…

 

A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that on virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment, from personal earnings to job satisfaction, young college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education. Moreover, the findings show that when today’s young adults are compared with previous generations, the disparity in economic outcomes…

Longevity is often cheered as an achievement, but the downside of living well beyond one's average life expectancy is that it can strain (or worse, completely deplete) an individual's financial resources. The first step in addressing longevity risk is to evaluate just how great the odds are that either you or your spouse will have a much longer-than-average life span. Health considerations,…

Plenty of people who pass away or become debilitated leave their spouses with overly complicated financial plans, too little information, and no clear instructions about where to turn for help. Below are some of the key ways to make sure that doesn't happen to your family.

1) Start the Conversation. Even if your spouse is happily hands-off, it's important that he or she is looped in on…

Even people who think they've ticked off all of the usual boxes on their estate-planning to-do lists may have overlooked an increasingly important component of the process: ensuring the proper management and orderly transfer of their digital assets. Just as traditional estate-planning relates to the management and transfer of financial accounts and hard assets, digital estate-planning…

Given that the U.S. Federal Reserve is stepping back some of its maneuvers to keep interest rates low, interest rates are expected to increase to more normal levels. Normal means that interest rates are generally dictated by the rate of inflation plus a spread. In the case of the U.S. 10-year Treasury bond, the spread has averaged about 2.4%, though that level has been quite volatile. If one…

The market turmoil of 2008 has caused panicked investors to flee to safety, from stocks and mutual funds to risk-free investments like Treasuries and savings accounts. However, a risk-free portfolio might carry a high price. With their low returns and limited growth potential, some fixed-income investments may leave investors with little return after inflation. Further, by dumping stocks and…

Outlining an investment plan can be challenging: Today, individuals are responsible for building their own retirement accounts. This is a dramatic change from the past generation, who relied heavily on defined-benefit pension plans, which guaranteed income for life following retirement. Investors are faced with the challenge of making decisions on how much to save each month, how to allocate…

In the recent context of likely-to-rise-at-any-time interest rates, it may be interesting to take a look at the historical relationship between stock and bond yields. As illustrated in the image, stock dividend yields were much higher than 10-year government-bond yields before 1957, with dividend payouts a form of compensation for the additional risk of investing in stocks.

In the more…