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Mutual fund investors' tax bills have been on the rise again recently. The average capital gains distribution (a payment to shareholders of profits realized on the sale of a fund’s securities) for U.S. equity funds based on data as of April 2014 is 19.3% of assets, compared with, for example, 6.9% back in 2007. These recent distributions are among the largest seen since the start of the…

Letting money sit tight in an old 401(k) plan is the path of least resistance, which is why many participants let their assets sit in the plans of former employers. This, of course, may be better than cashing the money out and spending it. Investors younger than 55 pay ordinary income taxes and a penalty on any premature distributions, which can diminish a 401(k) balance considerably. But…

With Treasury yields still relatively low and worry about the eventuality of rising rates ever present, many investors have been moving away from Treasuries and into other fixed-income sectors in their quest for income. Two fixed-income segments seeing activity from this migration are corporate and emerging-markets bonds.

Corporate bonds: Many investors have bumped up their…

Even if you're already convinced that saving in an IRA is a sensible thing to do, there's still a little bit of research to conduct. There are two main types of IRA accounts, and selecting the one that's best for you can be a daunting process. You can figure this out in relatively short order by following these three steps.

1) Know the Basics: Understanding the difference between the…

Since interest rates are still relatively low right now, many investors looking for income and yield have begun to assess switching a portion of their investment allocation from bonds into dividend-paying stocks. However, it is important to remember that the interest payment of a bond is a contractual obligation of the company, whereas dividend payments are not. If a bond issuer does not pay…

The sooner you start putting aside money for retirement, the more you might have once that highly anticipated day arrives. Saving for college tuition, purchasing a new home, unforeseen medical expenses, or life’s other necessities, surprises, or even enjoyments can cause investors to postpone saving. Starting the retirement planning process late in one’s life can be daunting, but it is by no…

Income Tax (Photo credit: LendingMemo)

It's that time of year again. While many people cannot say they enjoy preparing their income-tax returns, you'll like it even less if you make mistakes and pay more tax, penalties, and interest than you need to. Here are some things to watch out for as you prepare this year's return or ready your tax documents for your accountant.

Qualified…

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…