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After losing ground in 2018, U.S. stocks had a banner year in 2019, with the S&P 500 gaining almost 29% — the highest annual increase since 2013.1 It's too early to know how 2020 will turn out, but it's been rocky so far, and you can count on market swings to challenge your patience as an investor.

The trend was steadily upward last year, but there were downturns along the way,…

Spring is a good time to clean out the cobwebs, and not just in your home or apartment. Your personal finances can benefit from a good spring cleaning, too. Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding your budget, debt, and taxes.

Is there room in my budget to save more?

A budget is the centerpiece of any good personal financial plan. After tallying your monthly income and…

Tax filing season is here again. If you haven't done so already, you'll want to start pulling things together — that includes getting your hands on a copy of your 2018 tax return and gathering W-2s, 1099s, and deduction records. You'll need these records whether you're preparing your own return or paying someone else to prepare your tax return for you.

Don't procrastinate

The filing…

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which was passed in December 2019 as part of a larger federal spending package, included a provision that warrants special attention from those who own high-value IRAs. Specifically, the "stretch" IRA provision — which permitted nonspouse beneficiaries who inherited IRAs to spread distributions over their lifetimes — has…

The SECURE Act Offers New Opportunities for Individuals and Businesses

The SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act) is major legislation that was passed by Congress as part of a larger spending bill and signed into law by the president in December. Here are a few provisions that may affect you. Unless otherwise noted, the new rules apply to tax or plan…

Buying insurance is about sharing or shifting risk, but you may think you're covered for specific losses when, in fact, you're not. Here are some common coverage gaps to consider when reviewing your own insurance coverage.

Life insurance

In general, you want to have enough life insurance coverage (when coupled with savings and income) to allow your family to continue living the…

What if you're saving as much as you can, but still feel that your retirement savings goal is out of reach? As with many of life's toughest challenges, it may help to focus less on the big picture and more on the details.

Regularly review your assumptions

Whether you use a simple online calculator or run a detailed analysis, your retirement savings goal is based on certain assumptions…

Sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investing (also called socially responsible investing) has been around for a long time, but growing interest has moved it into the mainstream. U.S. SRI assets reached $12 trillion in 2018, 38% more than in 2016. SRI investments now account for about one-fourth of all professionally managed U.S. assets.1

Surveys suggest that many people want…

According to a recent survey, 76% of Americans reported having at least one financial regret. Over half of this group said it had to do with savings: 27% didn't start saving for retirement soon enough, 19% didn't contribute enough to an emergency fund, and 10% wish they had saved more for college.1

The saving conundrum

What's preventing Americans from saving more? It's a confluence of…

Tax basis can be important when deciding whether to make gifts now or transfer property at your death. This is because the tax basis of the person receiving the property depends on whether the transfer is by gift or at death. This, in turn, affects the amount of taxable gain subject to income tax when the person sells the property.

What is tax basis?

The tax basis of an asset is used…