Back to top

Resources

Keeping tabs on the estate-planning rules during the past few years has been a little like watching Olympic-level table tennis: The action moves quickly, and it's difficult to keep up. However, no matter how laws and rules change, there are a few basic tasks that are actually pretty evergreen and that everyone should execute. Five such estate-planning to-dos are outlined below.

1)…

More and more companies have eliminated traditional pension plans, and individual retirement accounts are becoming a cornerstone of many workers' retirement plans. So it only makes sense to take some time to make sure you are taking maximum advantage of these plans. Follow these strategies and tips to make the most of your IRAs.

Strategy 1: Start early

Lots of young people (and…

Instant access to real-time quotes and media reports can make it difficult for investors with a long-term investment horizon to stay focused on their goals. In reality, these daily market movements may not be as extreme as they seem.

As investors look longer term, their perception often changes. Short-term market fluctuations can be quite volatile, and the probability of realizing a…

Do we have a winner? Ever since passively-managed funds like exchange-traded funds (ETFs) came into being, there has been much debate about active management versus passive management. Research published by industry professionals presents different arguments. Some studies show that only a fraction of active funds beat their respective benchmarks. Other studies show that, while active funds…

Over the last 20 years, markets have experienced many shocks and recessions, including the Asian currency crisis, the Russian debt default, the dot-com crash of the early 2000s, and the recent global financial crisis. When these events occur, investors frequently attempt to reduce (or increase) investments to certain asset classes in order to lower exposure to (or take advantage of) the…

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…