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How to Choose Your First Credit Card

As a newbie to credit cards at the ripe age of 24 years old, I understand the daunting task of picking your first credit card. Lucky for you, I have a few years experience now and here’s how you choose your first credit card the right way.

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When is it a Good Time to Get a Debt Consolidation Loan?

When is it a good time to take out a debt consolidation loan? Multiple debts mean multiple due dates and multiple payments. If you have been struggling with staying on top of debt payments, you might be considering a consolidation loan.

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8 Things You Can Do to Start Preparing for Retirement

Preparing for retirement isn’t something you might be thinking of every day. I certainly don’t as a millennial. You’ve heard it time and time again, saving early and often is the key to getting ahead in retirement. While millennials still have a few decades of work ahead of them, baby boomers have struggled as they hit retirement age.

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Making A Year-End Tax Pan

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is a great time to plan

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4 Procrastination Mistakes

We’re all busy. There is always some new item on our constantly growing to-do lists. Some tasks are fun to take on others are tedious, boring, long or all the above. But some of the most important to-do’s in our lives often get overlooked because -- well, let’s face it -- they’re not all that fun.

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Managing Credit Cards Costs

Increased competition among credit card issuers presents an opportunity for you to control your credit card costs. For example, many institutions are willing to raise the line of credit on a standard credit card. Too often, cardholders assume that to obtain a higher credit line, they must purchase a “premium” credit card, which may charge a substantially higher annual fee.

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Credit Cards 101

Deciding to open your first credit card is a big financial step. Credit cards can be powerful tools, not just to make your life more convenient, but also to help you establish good credit for the future. Of course, opening and learning how to properly manage your first credit card can be tricky if you don't know what you're doing.

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Maintaining a Healthy Credit Report

Your credit report is an accumulation of information about your bills and loans, your repayment history, your available credit, and your outstanding debts. These reports are typically used by lenders when deciding whether or not to accept a loan or credit application. A healthy credit report can help you secure the funding you need to purchase a new home or car, pay for a child’s education, or start your own business.

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Unexpected Ways You Could Be Hurting Your Credit

You probably have a handle on the fact that you need to keep your bills paid on time to avoid hurting your credit. Yet you might not realize that credit scores are affected by much more than just your bill paying habits. Sure payment history matters, but credit scoring models are designed to pay attention to a lot of other factors as well. You could be hurting your credit without even realizing it.

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Free Credit Freezes - Should You Claim Yours?

A new federal law dubbed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (try saying that three times fast!) has given consumers in all 50 states the right to freeze their credit reports free of charge. Credit freezes may now be free, but they are not automatic. If you wish to freeze your credit reports, you will need to proactively make the requests.

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Personal Loans: What Are They and How Can They Benefit You?

From a financial perspective, it is best to structure your budget so that you are spending far less than you earn and tucking away savings for the future. Of course, even if you make the decision today to overhaul your spending and saving habits, it can take some time to eliminate existing debts and create a surplus of funds for your future needs and wants. A personal loan might be able to help you reach your goals sooner.

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Things You Can Do to Start Preparing for Retirement

If you're like a lot of Americans, knowing that it is important to prepare for retirement and understanding how to actually prepare are two very different things. Before you stress yourself out, the good news is that becoming financially ready for retirement isn't as complicated as most people believe.

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Hire Your Children and Help Them Save

Hiring your teenage children to work in your business can give them valuable employment experience and teach them to handle responsibility.

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Giving Your Card a Charge

Credit cards have a big effect on the way many Americans shop and budget their expenses.

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A Reality Check for Holiday Spenders

During the holiday season, like many people, you're probably finding that in the process of spreading good cheer you've spent too much money.

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The Reverse Mortgage Can Help Finance Your Lifestyle

An increasing number of retirees could be forced to lower their standards of living due to a combination of rising expenses, limited or fixed benefits, and longer lifespans. For those who own their own homes, however, the reverse mortgage could literally produce a change in fortune.

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Boost Your Retirement with IRAs and 401(k)s

Remember, early planning puts time on your side.

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A Few Words about Hybrid Funds

Hybrid funds are mutual funds that invest in a mixture of stocks, bonds, and to some extent cash to meet a certain objective, such as growth or income.

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10 Tips for Your $ Future

Follow these 10 tips to prevent you and your family from money troubles.

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A Look at Tax Planning for Retirement

After years of saving and planning for their golden years, many people nearing retirement fail to consider the tax burden they may face on income they receive after they stop working.

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Think Twice Before Using a Debit Card

Because of the risk of fraud and possibility of great inconvenience, think twice before you use a debit card in the following places...

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Umbrella Policies: Extra Coverage and Peace

Additional insurance to protect your assets and future

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Firefighters and Financial Advisors

What do they have in common?

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How do Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail sales affect the stock market?

What typical investors need to know

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Carving Up a Portfolio and that Thanksgiving Pie

If your 2018 Thanksgiving pie is all U.S. equities, expand your palate

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A Blueprint for Retirement

Build it from the ground up

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Deciding on an IRA

There are several things you need to know to determine whether you qualify for an IRA deduction and, if you do, whether the actual deduction will be as beneficial as some other alternatives.

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How to Make Cosigning a Student Loan a Breeze

Use the loan application process as a learning experience

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3 Gurus' Timeless Wisdom

Some food for thought from three great investors to help avoid investment mistakes.

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4 Ways Financial Planners Are Like You

Financial planners aren’t perfect. They’re regular people with regular families who likely have financial needs and goals similar to yours.

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Warren Buffett is Buying Back Berkshire’s Stock

2018 is shaping up to be a record year for stock buybacks

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Some Thoughts on Health Care on Veterans Day

Consider adding medical services freedom to your financial planning goals

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Workers Strongly Support Automomatic 401(k) Enrollment

While concerns that some employees resent automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans appears to have stopped some retirement plan sponsors from adopting automated features, most employees actually favor the programs.

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SEC Alert: The Pitfalls of 401(k) Debit Cards

A 401(k) debit card typically allows retirement plan participants to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of the value of their retirement plan, whichever is less, through use of a debit card.

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Social Security Gets a 2.8% Raise

But will it keep pace with inflation? And is this your only retirement plan?

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Your Estate and Life Insurance

It can be fairly easy to underestimate your net worth.

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Afraid of a Stock Market Correction? Get a Plan

When people ask if a correction is coming and what they should do to prepare, my answer for most is: Stay the course.

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Borrowers to See New FICO Scoring System

The goal is to account for a borrower’s cash transactions and banking history.

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Ways the Midterm Elections Will Impact Investors

Potential implications for the U.S. economy and its stock markets

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Women Entrepreneurs: A Growing Trend

According to the Center for Women’s Business Research (2012), three quarters of women-owned businesses are those wherein women own a majority share, and each year, women-owned businesses generate almost $1.9 trillion in sales.

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Understanding Interest Rates and Your Financial Situation

When discussing bank accounts, investments, loans, and mortgages, it is important to understand the concept of interest rates.

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Managing Your Benefits When Changing Jobs

Starting a new job can be exciting. But, as you look forward to your new opportunity, consider carefully how you will manage your employer-provided benefits while transitioning from one workplace to another.

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To Lease or Buy?

Leasing continues to grow in popularity among many new car buyers...

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Put Yourself First - Start Saving Now

Many people are jubilant if their expenses equal their income, but in the long-run it will be difficult to save and invest unless your disposable income exceeds your expenses.

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The Changing Face of America: Dual Income Families

The economic challenges and opportunities of this century may often require two incomes to meet overall family expenses...

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Can the 2018 World Series Predict the 2019 Stock Markets?

Is there actually a difference in stock market performance depending on who wins the World Series?

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5 Signs You Need Money Counseling, Not Marriage Counseling

Marriage counseling is a great option for couples who need to learn how to better communicate, but it might not solve the problem that caused a disagreement in the first place, especially if the problem involves money.

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Saving Tips for Younger Adults

Today, younger adults face a variety of challenges in their pursuit of financial independence. Some of these challenges are similar to those faced by previous generations, while others are unique to the times.

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Assessing Portfolio Risk

In the investment world, risk is broadly defined as the probability that the actual return from an investment will be different from its expected return, and can be affected by a number of factors...

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Where Does Your Money Go?

Solve the Mystery with a Budget.

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Checking Your Financial Pulse

We all know that an annual check-up with a physician is important in maintaining proper health and physical fitness. Well, the same holds true with fiscal fitness, too.

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Tips You Can Use for the Credit Card Blues

Credit card debt is a major problem in the United States.

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Understanding The Dow: What Makes it Tick

Most people know that the Dow is an “average” of the stock prices of thirty large industrial companies. But, just how that average is compiled, and what it really reveals, are not the burning questions of typical social conversations.

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Unmarried Couples: Treading the Tricky Waters of Pooled Finances

For a variety of reasons, many couples, regardless of age, may find themselves living together for a period of time as unmarried partners. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to make conscious decisions about how to handle personal and household finances because unmarried partners lack many protections the law extends to married couples.

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Putting the Finishing Touches on Your Retirement Symphony

Some composers may spend years, or even a lifetime, to achieve their “masterpiece.” And, most of them will tell you that, quite often, the toughest part of writing music is actually finishing the composition. In many respects, retirement planning is a lot like composing a symphony.

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Save money when traveling abroad by thinking like an economist

This may seem innocuous – or even convenient – but agreeing to use your home currency in a foreign land can significantly inflate the cost of every purchase. Thinking a bit more like an economist can help you avoid this mistake, and save a lot of money.

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Investing in Your Vacation

Why do most avoid this important investment?

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Understanding the FIRE Movement

Financial Independence / Retire Early – Is it right for you?

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Financial Tips for Younger Generations

Young adults in their twenties and early thirties face a variety of challenges in their quest for financial security. Some of these challenges are similar to those faced by previous generations, while others are unique to the times.

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Market Corrections are Healthy and Beneficial

Because they keep bubbles from forming – but only if you’re prepared.

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Dividing the Family Pie: Are Equal Slices Best?

When considering how best to divide your assets, you may believe a policy of “share and share alike” is the best solution. This is perhaps the easiest method, and often the way to avoid conflicts and complaints of discrimination, but does equality necessarily equate to fairness?

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Financial Considerations for Single Women

If you’re divorced or separated, money management will become an important part of your life. While it may be true that money can’t buy or ensure happiness, your ability to manage your finances can play a large role in your financial future, and to a large extent, your ability to live life on your terms.

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You’ve Graduated - Now It’s Payback Time

It takes four years, on average, to graduate from most colleges and universities. During that time, students can accumulate a large amount of debt. How should the debt be repaid? Are there any plans that can help make payback easier? What if a student can’t find a job right away?

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How to Control Holiday Spending

Although the year-end holidays may be a joyous time that reunites old friends and distant family members, one dilemma you may face is how can you avoid the pressure to overspend, yet still have the pleasure of buying presents for your family and friends?

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Just Married: Newlywed Estate Planning Cheat Sheet

You’re already sharing a life, now it’s time to share some important info to get your matrimonial journey off to a great start.

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A Crash Course in College Savings

The cost of higher education is increasing year after year with increases running well ahead of inflation. So, how can YOUR family build an adequate fund for college?

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Avoiding Pension Tension

Think of this. . .when you retire, you’ll have to make an incredibly important decision. If you’re part of your company’s pension plan, you’ll have to choose how you want to receive your pension proceeds - and once you make your decision, there’s no turning back.

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Use a Mortgage When Lending Large Amounts to Your Children

Although adult children may earn their own money, the cost of living and the acquisition of such things as a home may be beyond their means. As a result, many parents may want to provide a “lending” hand. While large loans from parents to offspring are quite common, it is important to pay attention to the tax rules that apply to such transactions.

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Following Your “Investment Style” Conscience

Many people are very style conscious when it comes to automobiles, clothing, and homes, but may be far less discriminating about their choice of mutual funds. What, you may ask, does style have to do with investing?

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Should Retirement Be Hard Work?

Many people think of retirement as a time to travel or pursue special interests—a welcome break from the 40-hour workweek. But without careful retirement planning, you may actually need to work harder and longer than you imagined during your so-called retirement years.

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Lending Alternatives for Small Businesses

One of the greatest challenges facing a small company is securing a loan or finding a venture capitalist to fund a planned expansion, modernization, or operation.

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Compounding. . .can be in Your Best “Interest”

Compounding, or the earning of interest on interest, is simply a method of making an investment return on a return previously earned. All investors should appreciate the value of compound interest and have an understanding of its operation.

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Borrowing Responsibly and Managing Debt

All business owners prefer to operate in the black. But, taking on debt is sometimes necessary as a company expands or when business slows due to economic volatility. Managing your debt carefully can minimize the cost of carrying debt and make it easier to move back into the black when the market improves.

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Travel Tips That Save

Americans seem to be traveling more than ever before and are doing so by either flying the friendly skies or sailing the seven seas. While more of us may be flying high or traveling the high seas, most of us would like to avoid the high cost of air and ocean travel.

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Analyzing Investment Styles: Growth vs. Value

Growth investors look for stocks that will grow at a high rate for a relatively short period of time or mutual funds that focus on growth stock. Value investors look for stocks that are currently undervalued and are expected to increase to their true value over a longer time horizon or mutual funds that focus on value stock.

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Keep Control

It’s to Your Credit

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The Fiduciary Rule is Dead

But Clients Should Ask Their Advisor This Simple Yes or No Question

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The World of Alternative Investments

What investors need to know

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Which Comes First: Saving for Retirement or College?

It’s a question fraught with emotions.

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Investing to Gain Pleasure or Avoid Pain?

Using the rules of science to become a better investor

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New Economic Realities for Today’s Young Couples

For today’s young couples, the road to the future may look far different than it did for their parents. Their incomes may be less certain compared to those of previous generations, and the demands on their financial resources may be greater.

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Potholes in the Road to Early Retirement

Early retirement certainlysounds like a good idea to many people - but is it?

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Here's What It Takes to Borrow

When you apply for a loan, remember that lenders look for three ingredients that will lead to a favorable approval of you as a borrower.

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25 Financial Tidbits

Some bite-sized food for thought?

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Retirement Planning – The Ultimate Escape Room

Musings from a financial advisor...

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Risk Tolerance - What’s Right for You?

When it comes to investing, everyone has a different risk tolerance.

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Money Management throughout Life Stages

On the way to developing and maintaining your financial well-being, the ability to successfully manage your personal finances will play an important role. A solid financial strategy can help you build a more financially secure future for your family.

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Creating Your Own (Credit) History

Because the ability to use credit has become such a large part of everyday life, it is essential to know how to establish credit, maintain a good credit rating, and repair a damaged credit history.

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Retirement Income: It Doesn’t Grow on Trees

Most of us can't wait until the day we finally say goodbye to the working world and our time becomes our own. We often dream about how we would like to fill those hours, but unfortunately, we often don't think ahead to the concrete fact of how we will attain the funds to enjoy those times.

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A Financial Review Can Pay Off at Year End

Often, what are considered old-fashioned practices, such as performing periodic financial reviews, can lead to greater success in the long run. Why not spend a few hours reviewing your finances?

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Is It Time to Refinance?

Over time, mortgage rates fluctuate. Depending on where rates currently stand, now may or may not be a good time for homeowners to consider refinancing their mortgage. How can you determine whether it makes sense at any given point to refinance your mortgage?

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The Dangers of Trying to Time the Market

The belief that you, or a particularly talented financial manager, can foresee the direction of the stock market is a seductive one.

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Grow Old with Me--Live (Almost) Tax-Free

In addition to considering these lifestyle questions as you decide where your retirement haven will be, you should study the affect of state tax structures on your projected retirement income.

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Act(s) to Protect Your Credit

If you've ever experienced problems with credit, here is a list of legal statutes that may offer you some protective action.

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A Mountain of Debt to Scale: How will It Affect You?

Many economists agree that debt can be good for the economy. It encourages consumers to spend and corporations to expand and invest in future earnings. The major concern however, is that the riskiest borrowers, those least able to repay debt, are piling it on.

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The Importance of Minimizing Your Retirement Risks

With the median net worth of American families showing signs of stagnation and traditional pension plans disappearing, even as the growing number of retirees places pressure on the Social Security system, workers who are currently trying to plan for retirement are facing an uphill battle...

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Is the September Swoon Real?

The “September Swoon” is a seasonal trend in the stock market and one that has been well documented by researchers and the press. The fact is, September has historically been the worst month on the calendar for stocks...

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Fantasy Football and Investing

Don’t treat your investments like a bad coach runs a football team

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Why Don’t We Save More Money?

Saving, Spending, and Paying Down Your Debts

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Protect Financial Information from Prying Eyes on the Web

As more and more consumers search for financial information on the Internet, they may inadvertently leave themselves open to being “tracked” by certain companies and individuals.

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Marriage Financing for “Generation Xers”

Young adults born between 1960 and 1980, so-called “post boomers” or “Generation Xers,” face a variety of challenges in their quest for financial security—especially those preparing to get married. Some of these challenges are similar to those faced by previous generations, while others are unique to the times.

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6 Questions About 529 Plans

What parents need to know about saving for college

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Choosing Retirement Investments

Although your retirement date may still be many years off, it is never too early to start your preparation. Yet, many people may spend more time planning their annual vacations than they do planning for their retirement future.

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Don't Step Into These Saving Traps

Some behavioral biases seem tailor-made to foil retirement savers. But their ill effects are smaller for those who are aware of them.

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Why students need better protection from loan fraud

A college education can set you up for a lifetime – though it can come with a hefty price tag: Some unfortunate students have gotten both a mountain of debt and an education that falls far short of their expectations.

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Half of Americans Lack Emergency Savings

Fewer than half of Americans have saved the recommended three months’ living expenses to shield them in emergencies, and women are less likely to have a “rainy day” fund than men.

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Back-To-School Shopping List

Why Not A Yearly Retirement List?

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Curing Bad Money Behavior

Financial therapy is different from financial planning. Or is it?

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A Very Pessimistic View of Bitcoin and Cryptos

The Summer of 2018 is a Graveyard of Cryptos.

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Curb Your Runaway Expenses and Still Have Fun

In the ever-changing game of life, expenses are a constant.

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Diversifying for a Successful Retirement

If you are thinking ahead to your retirement years, now may be the time to fine-tune and revise your retirement portfolio.

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3 Good Reasons to Invest in the Dow

Yes, there's a hint of fustiness to the Dow 30. But the industrials actually do a good job of tracking the market, and might do better in down times.

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Facing a Retirement Shortfall

A Positive Plan of Action

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Credit Problems May Hinder Job Search

When you are searching for a job, demonstrating relevant experience and acing the interview are important. But they may not be enough to secure the position. Regardless of the type of job you are seeking, you could be turned down by an employer if you bounced some checks at some point or were late in paying your bills.

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Aretha Franklin Died Without a Will

And now her $80 million estate is in probate court.

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(Not) Home Alone

Recent years have seen more adult children moving back to their parents' homes than ever before after completing college.

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Achieving Life's Goals with Cash Flow Alternatives

Developing effective strategies for achieving your goals within the limits of your particular financial circumstances can be difficult. Each stage of your life may create new financial challenges.

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Take Time for a Credit Checkup

If you take the time to understand the credit reporting system and monitor the “health” of your own credit profile, it will be time well spent.

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ABCs of Investing for College

Invest early. Invest often. Invest for growth. These are the basic principles of saving for your child’s college education.

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Managing Debt During Good Economic Times

While low interest rates may tempt you to borrow, miring yourself in debt can slow your long-term financial progress.

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Older Americans: Growing Targets of Financial Fraud

America’s older generations grew up in a different world where it was customary to be courteous and trusting. Unfortunately, these exemplary standards of conduct could get some individuals into trouble.

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Financial Tips for “Generation Xers”

Young adults in their twenties and early thirties—so-called “post boomers” or “Generation Xers”—face a variety of challenges in their quest for financial security. Some of these challenges are similar to those faced by previous generations, while others are unique to the times.

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Inflation and Your Retirement

You hear it all the time: you should make sure your retirement savings at least keep pace with inflation. But what is inflation and how does it really affect your retirement savings? Let’s explore.

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Making the Most of Stock Options

If you work for a company whose share price is on an up trend, and whose management favors incenting and rewarding employees with stock options, you might be in an enviable position.

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Good Credit: Teach Your Children Well

Many parents teach their children the ABCs at a very young age, but do they teach them the ABCs of good credit?

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All You Need to Know About Trusts

Set up trusts to minimize estate taxes, avoid probate, and seamlessly transfer your assets to your heirs.

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Retiring Business Owners - Plan for Succession

If you’re a small business owner, you’ve invested a great deal of time and effort into building your company. With day-to-day demands, it may be difficult to imagine your eventual transition into retirement. Yet, if you want to build personal financial security and ensure business continuation, it is important to plan ahead.

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The Tax Advantages of Purchasing Annuities

As you are planning for your retirement, you may be considering purchasing an annuity, which can provide you with a steady flow of income for a limited period of time, or for the rest of your life.

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Unpaid Student Loans May Result in Docked Social Security Checks

If you are considering student loans for yourself or a family member, think carefully before you sign on the dotted line.

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Social Security's Future is Safe

Social Security is the bedrock of Americans' retirement income security.

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Life Insurance: How Much Is Enough?

Without a doubt, it is important to have enough life insurance coverage to handle the financial contingencies that may affect your family in the event of your death. However, determining the necessary amount of life insurance is not that simple. One past rule of thumb was that you should have enough life insurance to equal five times your annual salary.

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How Difficult Is It To Talk With Your Family About Money?

Some families have no problem discussing money. For the rest, use these tips to get your family on the same financial page.

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5 Big Problems to Solve Before You Retire

Retirement should be a reward for years of hard work, and you don't want to have to pinch every penny. You should be able to do the things you couldn't when you were punching a clock every day.

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Acquaint Grown Children with Your Financial Affairs

Many parents may feel it is unnecessary to inform their adult children about their personal, financial affairs. However, as your children grow older, it can work to your advantage-and that of your entire family- to share with them key financial, medical, and estate planning information.

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Divorce – The Retirement Killer

Worse for baby boomers, worst for women.

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Retirement Planning: Investing in Your Health

Do you have $400,000 ready for health care costs?

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Aging Parents & Money

Getting old is hard. Your parents' ability to manage their own finances may decline as they age. Helping them with money matters is a sensitive issue you need to approach carefully.

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10 Things You Must Know About Medicare

Heading into your retirement years brings a slew of new topics to grapple with, and one of the most maddening may be Medicare.

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Retirement: A Community Audition

America's Changing Vision of Retirement

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Accentuate Your Pension

Retiring well is the best reward for a lifetime of hard work. But a successful retirement doesn't just happen--it is the result of careful planning.

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Americans are Retiring With Less

Survey finds that 44 percent of Americans are still paying for their home when they retire.

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Being Realistic About Retirement

Everyone has certain expectations and dreams about retirement. Will your current plan meet your ultimate objectives?

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Gender Differences in Retirement Planning

Women often face more financial challenges than men as a result of lower salaries, prolonged career breaks, and relative longevity, according to a study recently published by the BMO Retirement Institute.

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Are You Planning An Early Retirement?

As your 62nd birthday approaches, the dream of early retirement may be a possibility.

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Countdown to Retirement: Strategies for Saving in Your 50s

Many retirees today are redefining the "golden years." Forget about endless days of leisure. Retirees seek adventure, travel, and new business pursuits. While these changes may redefine retirement, will retirees be able to finance their plans?

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Beyond Your IRA: An Alternative Way to Save for Retirement

A financially secure retirement is a major concern of many Americans, both young and old. Studies have shown that you will need about 80 percent of your pre-retirement income to maintain your standard of living.

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IRA Q & A

Although tax laws have made the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) a highly regulated retirement savings vehicle, the IRA remains the cornerstone of everyone’s retirement planning providing essential flexibility in protecting assets.

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Perfecting Your Recipe for Retirement

Although your retirement date may still be many years off, it is never too early to start planning for the day when you can say "good-bye" to the working world. Yet, to be financially secure, you need to create a plan that will maintain or enhance the quality of your life in the future.

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Paving Your Road to Retirement

Whatever your age, it’s never too soon to look ahead and begin giving thought to your retirement. With proper planning, you can make the transition to retirement a smooth, comfortable and secure ride.

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Is Your Retirement Highway in Need of Some Roadwork?

Somewhere along your road to retirement, you should pull to the side and look at your “map.” Will your road to retirement be a smooth one or filled with potholes? How far down the road is your retirement and have you packed enough financial resources to last the journey?

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Early Retirement: Is It Still Viable?

Many people may plan to take an early retirement or circumstances out of their control may force them to make that decision. Either way, with life expectancies steadily increasing for Americans, it’s possible that an individual could spend at least one-third of his or her lifetime in retirement.

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An Overview of Workplace Retirement Plans

Americans are living longer, and this may mean enjoying retirement for a longer period of time than ever before. Consequently, retirement assets must last longer and accommodate increases in the cost of living.

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A Retirement Plan That Makes Tax Sense

One of the more popular types of retirement plans in use today is a 401(k) plan. One reason for their appeal is that employees are allowed to save part of their pay each year, tax deferred, by contributing to various investment funds within the plan.

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Stretching an IRA into Future Generations

Imagine that you could wave a magic wand and turn your new grandchild into a millionaire for a head start in life. Believe it or not, even a relatively modest amount tucked away using a “stretch” IRA strategy could, under certain market conditions, evolve into a rather substantial nest egg that your grandchild, or other beneficiary, may enjoy in years to come.

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Thinking Ahead for a Secure Retirement

Since Americans are now living longer than ever before, many into their 80s and 90s, retirement resources may need to last 20 years or more.

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Updating Your Will Can Contribute to a Relaxing Retirement

Whether you are decades or months away from retirement, it may be prudent to review your will whenever there is a significant change in your family circumstances or finances. To stay current, revisit your will at least once every five years to help ensure your estate tax strategies are on track, and that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.

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Why Should You Start Saving for Retirement Now?

You are busy dealing with life’s day-to-day issues. To you, retirement may seem like a long way off. But preparing now for your financial future is essential because what you do today can help ensure a secure retirement tomorrow.

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Finding Your Way through the IRA Maze

You’re certainly not alone if the words Individual Retirement Account (IRA) cause your mind to spin in confusion. The original IRAs were mind-boggling enough. However, now you have several options, including what many have called the “American Dream” IRA—the Roth IRA. Let’s take a moment and ferret out some of the nuances on the IRA landscape.

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Crossing the Bridge into Retirement

It’s fairly common for discussions of retirement planning to focus solely on the financial aspects of securing a comfortable retirement. But, few individuals may take the time to consider the nonfinancial issues of retirement.

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A Checklist for Retirement Planning

The time to begin planning for your financial future is now. So, when it comes to preparing for retirement, the earlier you start, the better.

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Assessing Your Retirement Resources

How resourceful can you be during your retirement? Determining where your retirement money will come from is an integral part of planning for retirement. Most people draw on three main sources of income: Social Security, employer-sponsored plans, and personal retirement savings. Each offers important resources that can help you fund the lifestyle you seek in retirement.

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America’s Changing Vision of Retirement

Retirement planning is a primary reason for long-term saving, and when people think about retirement, finances are often the focus. However, it is important to also look at the nonfinancial aspects of transitioning from the world of work to the world of leisure. Specifically, lifestyle changes and self-esteem issues associated with the loss of your professional identity may create difficulties. As you’re preparing strategies for your future well-being, give some thought to the kind of retirement you envision for yourself.

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Add Flexibility to Your Pension Plan

As you are approaching retirement, one of the primary decisions you need to make is what kind of payout to take from your company’s pension plan: single life, which lasts for your lifetime, or a joint and survivor option, which lasts for your life plus that of a designated beneficiary, usually your spouse.

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A Baby Boomers Lack Confidence in Their Retirement Readiness

Less than one-quarter of baby boomers say they are confident they are ready for retirement, and just over one-half report having any retirement savings at all, according to the results of a survey conducted by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI).

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The Triple Tax Benefits of Health Savings Accounts

When planning for retirement, most Americans think mainly about using tax-advantaged savings vehicles like 401(k) or individual retirement accounts, while failing to consider the triple tax advantages associated with saving for future health care costs using a health savings account, or HSA.

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The Financial Planning Process: Why and How

Planning personal finances used to be the worry of the wealthy and their worry—usually preservation of wealth—was attended to by teams of trust officers and lawyers. Many of today’s middle class families have different concerns: funding retirement; educating children; protecting assets; and coping with unexpected changes in health, employment, and marital situations. But, whether your goal is to build or protect assets, the sooner you start, the better.

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The Big Transition to Retirement

Successful business owners and executives may have spent years building their business or a career, and along the way, if they've done things right, they've planned financially for retirement. If you have reached the point where retirement is feasible, you should be thinking about a transition strategy.

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Roth IRAs for Kids

It may be difficult to convince your teenagers to participate in their financial futures, but if you can persuade them to contribute at least part of their babysitting or after-school job money to a Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA), they may thank you later.

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Playing by the IRA Rules

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) offer favorable tax-deferral benefits to individuals who are saving for retirement. But with those benefits, there are certain rules about when distributions may be taken to avoid penalty taxes. Contributions to a traditional IRA, depending on your income and participation in employer-sponsored plans, may entitle you to certain current income tax deductions. Further, because your funds are not taxed until distributions begin, your savings have the potential for tax-deferred growth. Generally, IRAs are designed to work as long-term savings vehicles, but you may be able to withdraw funds early and without penalty, provided your situation qualifies as an exception.

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Employer-Sponsored Plans: Helping Americans Prepare for Retirement

People who save through employer-sponsored plans are more likely to feel prepared for retirement than those who do not, according to the results of the 22nd annual EBRI Retirement Confidence survey in 2012 sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Mathew Greenwald & Associates.

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Gearing Up for the Golden Years

Will you have enough money for your retirement? This is a major concern facing many Americans, as retirement looms closer on their financial horizon. If you’re facing a retirement shortfall, you’re not alone. Many American households may retire on less annual income than they may need to live comfortably during their “golden years.”

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Easing Into Retirement

For many people, crossing the bridge into retirement is a big step. If you’re approaching retirement, it’s time to develop a strategy to facilitate a smooth transition from the more structured world of work to one of leisure.

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If You Wait Too Long It's Costly!

If you have a substantial amount of money in your company's retirement plan, one of the more dreaded taxes you may face is the 15% excise tax.

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Is the Roth 401(k) an Option for You?

Since it first became available in 2006, many employers have added the Roth 401(k) to their benefit packages as a retirement savings option. A Roth option is available for Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k) and 403(b) accounts. To see if a Roth 401(k) would be appropriate for your situation, let’s take a closer look.

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Focus on Your Retirement Now

Does your retirement seem years and years away? While it may feel this way, you owe it to yourself to look ahead and begin giving thought to a time in your life that may account for 20 or more "golden" years and may in fact, be closer than you realize.

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Pension Payout Options

When you think of retirement, you probably envision the enjoyable ways you will spend your free time. But, you may also want to give some thought to receiving your funds while in retirement. If you participate in a company pension plan, you will have to decide how you want to receive your pension proceeds. Consider your payout options, so when the time comes, you can make the choice that is most appropriate for you.

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Debt is Increasing Among the Elderly

And this is a problem for retirement readiness that needs to be addressed

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Getting Up to Speed as Retirement Draws Near

As you approach retirement, many important decisions await you. If you have a qualified employer-sponsored retirement plan, whether it is a traditional pension or defined contribution plan, such as a 401(k), you will have to decide how to manage the plan’s proceeds once you retire. Your choice may depend on the following considerations: your current financial situation and your projected income requirements; the health and life expectancy of you and your spouse; the anticipated inflation rate; and Federal and state taxes.

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Early Retirement: Is It Still Viable?

Many people may plan to take an early retirement or circumstances out of their control may force them to make that decision. Either way, with life expectancies steadily increasing for Americans, it’s possible that an individual could spend at least one-third of his or her lifetime in retirement. So, the sooner you begin planning for your exit from the labor force, the greater your chances of taking a comfortable, early retirement.

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If Social Security Falls Short: Have a Plan

Are you worried about the current state of the Social Security system and how its future may affect your retirement income? It’s important to take a long, hard look at your current savings strategy to ensure you’ll be able to compensate for this, or any other, retirement income shortfall. Here are some important savings strategies that can help you reach your retirement income goals.

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A “Recipe” for Retirement Savings

Do you ever dream of the day when you can retire and pursue your interests, travel, or simply relax from the pressure of the daily grind? In the past, retirement planning was a simpler process. Many retirees could count on employer-provided pension plans coupled with Social Security to furnish an adequate post-retirement income. Unfortunately, these two sources no longer provide sufficient funds for most people to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living.

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5 Big Problems to Solve Before You Retire

Unless you have a solid game plan in place to address these five potential problems, you are not ready to retire.

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A Roadmap to Retirement

If life is a journey, retirement is the destination where one hopes to enjoy long-awaited rewards for years of hard work. Yet, like any other life goal, a comfortable retirement doesn't just happen, it requires careful planning. And to date, most Americans are slow to take action.

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3 Retirement Savings Choices

We’ve all been there: scratching our heads wondering what to do with all the retirement savings accounts. Too many choices can be overwhelming, until you step back and realize that there are actually only three questions.

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10 Things You Must Know About Medicare

Heading into your retirement years brings a slew of new topics to grapple with, and one of the most maddening may be Medicare. Figuring out when to enroll, what to enroll in and what coverage will be best for you can be daunting. To help you wade easily into the waters, here are ten essential things you need to know about Medicare.

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Understanding Interest Rates and Your Financial Situation

When discussing bank accounts, investments, loans, and mortgages, it is important to understand the concept of interest rates. Interest is the price you pay for the temporary use of someone else’s funds; an interest rate is the percentage of a borrowed amount that is attributable to interest. Whether you are a lender, a borrower, or both, carefully consider how interest rates may affect your financial decisions.

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