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College savers need to be aware of many details when choosing a 529 plan, yet often the information either isn't provided or takes too much digging to find. A recent Morningstar study of 529 plans' disclosure found that the typical 529 plan website and plan document provide only high-level descriptions of the investment options. Basic information, including the name and tenure of the…

It is commonly known that interest rates have been at historically low levels for a few years now. But how low are they? The image illustrates the characteristics of interest rates of various maturities. On average, long-term government bonds delivered the highest yield of 5.2%, while intermediate-term government bonds and 30-day Treasury bills provided an average yield of 4.6% and 3.5%,…

 

In 2014, the income limit for Roth contributions is $129,000 for single filers and $191,000 for married couples filing jointly. For high-income earners who earn too much to contribute to a Roth IRA directly, the only method of getting new assets into a Roth IRA is to go in through the backdoor, opening traditional nondeductible IRAs, then converting those accounts to Roth IRAs. It's a…

Finding the right frequency for rebalancing is a personal decision that rests on a number of factors. Here's an overview of what to bear in mind.

Tax Status of Investments: Rebalancing involves peeling back on winners, which in turn could result in taxable capital gains if the sales occur within taxable accounts. Investors whose assets are mostly in taxable accounts may want to err on…

Investors who attempt to time the market run the risk of missing periods of positive returns. The image illustrates the value of a $100,000 investment in the stock market from Jan. 2007 to Oct. 2013, which included the global financial crisis and the recovery that followed. The value of the investment dropped to $54,381 by Feb. 2009 (the trough date). If an investor remained invested in the…

The arrival of a baby is an exciting event, but it also brings additional financial challenges and decisions for the whole family. Outlined below are four key financial considerations to help new parents prepare for many of life's unknowns.

Prepare for the Unexpected: Check your individual health insurance policy for specific guidelines on adding coverage for your newborn (most plans…

Myth 1: You have to contribute to a 529 in your home state. That statement is false with regard to 529 college-savings plans, in which money is invested in a portfolio of securities on behalf of a beneficiary. Any U.S. resident can contribute to a 529 college-savings plan in any state. Contributing to a plan offered by your home state might offer an added bonus in the form of a state income…

Do mutual fund investors prefer to invest in funds offering low expense ratios? The answer is yes. Expense ratios are an important factor in choosing a mutual fund, because they affect returns. It seems that the market is taking matters into its own hands and putting more assets in low-expense funds. As of October 2013, the average expense ratio for domestic funds was 1.14%. Investors pooled…

Financial planning may present different challenges for women as opposed to men for various reasons. Knowing these challenges, when and if they are likely to occur is crucial for women to successfully manage income, expenses, retirement planning, college planning for children, and any other money matters that need attention.

Challenge 1: Women tend to live longer than men. According to…

After two financial crises occurring almost back to back during the “lost decade,” investors have every right to be risk-averse, hesitant, angry, or distrustful. The problem with not investing at all, however, is that you may not have sufficient money to achieve your financial goals. An individual saving $100 per month, without investing, would have put away only $52,400 since 1970. By…