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Pat Mcfadden

Over the past couple of years, the economic picture has brightened for many cities and states — but some of them are still facing potential financial problems. As a citizen, you may well have concerns about these issues. And as an investor, these financial woes may affect your thinking about one particular type of investment vehicle: municipal bonds.

Specifically, given the difficulties faced by a few municipalities, should you consider adding “munis” to the fixed-income portion of your portfolio?

It is true that municipal defaults, though still rare, rose in 2012. But we haven’t experienced any sharp increases in defaults in 2013. Overall, default rates for municipal bonds are low — much lower than for corporate bonds of comparable quality, according to Moody’s Investor Services. read more »


Within a marriage, a man and a woman’s financial circumstances are generally pretty much equal. But if a divorce occurs, the woman’s situation tends to be somewhat more challenging than that of her ex-spouse. And that’s why, during this major life transition, you may want to meet with a professional financial advisor to go over your spending needs and your cash flow, so that you know what you absolutely need today — and how you can plan for tomorrow.

But before we get into some possible steps you can take, let’s look at some of the reasons that women may fare worse than men, financially speaking, following a divorce read more »


Some investments are appropriate during your working years, while others are more suitable for retirement. But a Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA) can provide you with benefits at virtually every stage of your life. Let’s take a quick “journey” through some of these stages to see just how valuable a Roth IRA can be.

To begin with, you can open a Roth IRA at any age, provided you have earned income and meet certain income limits. read more »

Tax Planning

If you’re like many people, you’re watching your dollars extra carefully this year as you do your holiday shopping. And that’s a good thing, because even in the best of times, it’s never wise to go overboard on gifts. But by making the right moves during this holiday season, you can also help ensure that you stay on track toward your long-term financial goals.

Specifically, what steps should you be taking during these weeks? Here are a few suggestions: read more »


Now that we’re in the midst of tax season, you may be anticipating a tax refund, if you haven’t already gotten one. Of course, not everyone receives a refund, but, among those who do, the amount can be sizable. In fact, in 2005, the average tax refund was about $2,125. If you’re going to get a refund, start planning now on how to use it. By making the right moves, you can help speed up your progress toward your financial goals. read more »


You’ve probably seen a lot of headlines on the Tax Relief Act of 2003. This legislation, recently signed into law by President Bush, will affect virtually everyone in the country. As an individual investor, you’ve got reasons to cheer the new tax laws. Many people will find that their taxes will decrease five percent or more under the new tax laws. read more »

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