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Todd Tidball
Retirement Lifestyles

You need to save and invest as much as possible to pay for the retirement lifestyle you’ve envisioned. But your retirement income also depends, to a certain degree, on how your retirement funds are taxed. And that’s why you may be interested in tax diversification.

To understand the concept of tax diversification, you’ll need to be familiar with how two of the most important retirement-savings vehicles — an IRA and a 401(k) — are taxed. Essentially, these accounts can be classified as either “traditional” or “Roth.”

When you invest in a traditional IRA or 401(k), your contributions may be tax-deductible and your earnings can grow tax-deferred. With a Roth IRA or 401(k), your contributions are not deductible, but your distributions can potentially be tax-free, provided you meet certain conditions. (Keep in mind, though, that to contribute to a Roth IRA, you can’t exceed designated income limits. Also, not all employers offer the Roth option for 401(k) plans.) read more »

 
Financial

For the first time since 2008, contribution limits have risen for one of the most popular retirement savings vehicles available: the IRA. This means you’ve got a greater opportunity to put more money away for your “golden years.”

Effective earlier this year, you can now put in up to $5,500 (up from $5,000 in 2012) to a traditional or Roth IRA when you make your 2013 contribution. And if you’re 50 or older, you can put in an additional $1,000 above the new contribution limit.

Over time, the extra sums from the higher contribution limits can add up. Consider this example: If you put in $5,000 per year to an IRA for 30 years, and you earned a hypothetical 7 percent per year, you’d wind up with slightly over $505,000. read more »

 
Banking And Finance

Not long ago, the Federal Reserve announced that it plans to keep short-term interest rates near zero until late 2014. The Fed initially pushed rates to that level in 2008, in an effort to stimulate economic growth. Clearly, low interest rates have a wide-ranging impact — but what effect will they have on you, as an individual investor?

If you need income from your investments, then the continuation of ultra-low interest rates may be a matter of some concern, particularly if you own certain types of fixed-income investments, such as certificates of deposit. While CDs are insured, offer return of principal at maturity and provide regular interest payments, they are not risk-free. read more »

 

These days, you can purchase just about anything you want on the Internet. However, you can still benefit from a human, face-to-face experience for some purchases — such as your investments. And that’s why you may want to work with a financial professional.

Unlike a computer interface, a financial professional will take the time to truly know your situation today — and then help you make adjustments tomorrow. read more »

 

During your lifetime, you make a lot of moves to provide financial security to your loved ones. You put away money for college for your young children. You save and invest for your own retirement so that you won’t ever burden your grown children with significant expenses. And you purchase adequate life insurance to enable your family to maintain its lifestyle should anything happen to you. Yet, if you’re going to help preserve your family’s financial well-being after you’re gone, you also need to take one additional step: Create an estate plan. read more »

 

If you share much of your adult life with your parents, consider yourself fortunate. As they age, however, you will need to become increasingly aware of added responsibilities you may have to assume. By planning ahead, you can help make everyone’s life easier.

In dealing with various matters relating to your parents — particularly financial matters — the key is open and frequent communication. read more »

 

It’s unfortunate but true: Many people are not particularly successful investors. Why? Part of the reason can be explained in these two words: Fear and greed. read more »

 

Your 401 plan is an excellent retirement-savings vehicle — so don’t let it “stall out.” How can you help keep your 401 moving forward? For starters, make sure you periodically rebalance the investments within your plan.

Fortunately, you’ll find that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do just that. In recent years, 401 plans have begun offering participants an increasing number of investment choices. Also, most plans allow you to make changes frequently — as often as once a day. You may not require this degree of flexibility, but it’s nice to know it exists. read more »

 
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