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If you were unpleasantly surprised by the amount of tax you owed or the amount of your tax refund when you filed your 2018 tax return, it may be time to check your withholding.

It may also be time if there are changes in your life or financial situation that affect your tax liability. For example, have you recently married, divorced, had a child, purchased a new home, changed jobs, or…

No matter how much money you have or which life stage you're in, becoming financially independent starts with a dream. Your dream might be to finally pay off the mountain of debt you've accumulated, or to stop relying on someone else for financial support. Or perhaps your dream is to retire early so you can spend more time with your family, travel the world, or open your own business.…

As of January 2019, there were 2,007 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) listed in the United States, with about $3.6 trillion in total assets. Assets held in ETFs have more than tripled since 2010, while the number of ETFs has more than doubled.1

An ETF is a portfolio of securities assembled by an investment company, similar to a mutual fund. An ETF's underlying investments are often…

Tax reform changes to the standard deduction and itemized deductions may affect your ability to obtain an income tax benefit from charitable giving. Projecting how you'll be affected by these changes while there's still time to take action is important.

Income tax benefit of charitable giving

If you itemize deductions on your federal income tax return, you can generally deduct your…

As an investor, you probably pay attention to nominal return, which is the percentage increase or decrease in the value of an investment over a given period of time, usually expressed as an annual return. However, to estimate actual income or growth potential in order to target financial goals — for example, a certain level of retirement income — it's important to consider the effects of taxes…

Many investors may be inclined to review their portfolios only when markets hit a rough patch, but careful planning is essential in all economic climates. So whether the markets are up or down, periodically reviewing your portfolio with your financial professional can be an excellent way to keep your investments on track, and midway through the year is a good time for a checkup. Here are three…

If you follow financial news, you've probably heard many references to "the Fed" along the lines of "the Fed held interest rates," or "market watchers are wondering what the Fed will do next." So what exactly is the Fed and what does it do?

What is the Federal Reserve?

The Federal Reserve — or "the Fed" as it's commonly called — is the central bank of the United States. The Fed was…

A financial crisis can be scary at any age, but this is especially true when you're in your 40s or 50s. Perhaps you're way behind on saving for retirement or have too much debt from unnecessary spending. Or maybe an unexpected challenge, such as a job loss, illness, or break from the workforce for caregiving responsibilities, took a direct hit on your finances.

Regardless of how you…

Year over year, participation in 529 plans continues to rise.1 Anyone can open an account, lifetime contribution limits are typically over $300,000, and there are tax benefits if the funds are used for college. Here are some common questions on opening an account.

Can I open an account in any state's 529 plan or am I limited to my own state's plan?

Answer: It depends on the type of…

Each year, the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) surveys employers to gauge trends in retirement plan features and participation. Results are used by employers and plan participants to benchmark their plans against overall averages. How does your plan compare to the most recent survey results, released at the end of 2018?1

Participation and savings rates

Plan participation (that…