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I received a new job offer but the salary is low. Should I make a counteroffer?

I received a new job offer but the salary is low. Should I make a counteroffer? Probably. Getting paid less than you should when starting a new job can affect not only your current paycheck but also your long-term asset accumulation. For example, the less money you earn, the less you have available to contribute to your retirement plan, and potentially the lower the amount of matching employer contributions you’ll receive if they are offered. In addition, because your…

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What should I evaluate when considering a new job offer?

Today, few people stay with one employer until retirement. Instead, it’s likely that at some point during your career, you’ll be searching for a new job. You may be looking for more money, greater career opportunities, or more flexibility. Or you may be forced to look for new employment if your company restructures. Whatever the reason, at some point in your working life you might be faced with a new job offer. Should you take it? Here are some…

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What It Means to Be a Financial Caregiver for Your Parents

If you are the adult child of aging parents, you may find yourself in the position of someday having to assist them with handling their finances. Whether that time is in the near future or sometime further down the road, there are some steps you can take now to make the process a bit easier. Mom and Dad, can we talk? Your first step should be to get a handle on your parents’ finances so you fully understand their…

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The Giving Season: Six Tips for Making Smart and Effective Charitable Donations This Holiday Season

The holidays are a popular time for charitable donations. With so many charities to choose from, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your donation is well spent. Here are six tips that can help you make smart and effective charitable donations. 1. Choose your charities wisely Choosing worthy organizations that support the causes you care about can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. There are several well-known organizations that rate and review charities, as…

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Playing Catch-Up with Your 401(k) or IRA Contribution

A recent survey of baby boomers (ages 53 to 69) found that just 24% were confident they would have enough money to last throughout retirement. Forty-five percent had no retirement savings at all, and of those who did have savings, 42% had saved less than $100,000.1 Your own savings may be on more solid ground, but regardless of your current balance, it’s smart to keep it growing. If you’re 50 or older, you could benefit by making catch-up contributions…

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Do I need to make any changes to my Medicare coverage for next year?

During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period that runs from October 15 through December 7, you can make changes to your Medicare coverage that will be effective on January 1, 2017. If you’re satisfied with your current coverage, you don’t need to make changes, but you should review your options before you decide to stay with your current plan. Your Medicare plan sends two important documents every year that you should review. The first, called the Evidence of Coverage, provides…

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Pretax, Roth, or After-Tax Contributions: Which Should You Choose?

If your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan allows pretax, after-tax, and/or Roth contributions, which should you choose? Pretax: Tax benefits now With pretax contributions, the money is deducted from your paycheck before taxes, which helps reduce your taxable income and the amount of taxes you pay now. Consider the following example, which is hypothetical and has been simplified for illustrative purposes. Example(s): Mark earns $2,000 every two weeks before taxes. If he contributes nothing to his retirement plan on a…

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Are You Ending 2016 Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise?

Although the year is drawing to a close, you still have time to review your finances. Pausing to reflect on the financial progress you made in 2016 and identifying adjustments for 2017 can help you start the new year stronger than ever. How healthy are your finances? Think of a year-end review as an annual physical for your money. Here are some questions to ask that will help assess your financial fitness. • Do you know how you spent…

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Will vs. Trust: which is Better?

When it comes to planning your estate, you might be wondering whether you should use a will or a trust (or both). Understanding the similarities and the differences between these two important documents may help you decide which strategy is better for you. What is a will? A will is a legal document that lets you direct how your property will be dispersed (among other things) when you die. It becomes effective only after your death. It also allows…

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Allowable Plan Expenses: Can the Plan Pay?

The payment of expenses by an ERISA plan (401(k), defined benefit plan, money purchase plan, etc.) out of plan assets is subject to ERISA’s fiduciary rules. The “exclusive benefit rule” requires a plan’s assets be used exclusively for providing benefits. ERISA also imposes upon fiduciaries the duty to defray reasonable expenses of plan administration. General principles of allowable expenses include the following: The expenses must be necessary for the administration of the plan. The plan’s document and trust agreement…

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