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Why is it important to factor inflation into retirement planning?

Inflation is one of the key factors you will need to consider when planning for retirement. Not only will the cost of living rise while you’re accumulating assets for retirement, but it will continue to rise during your retirement, which could last 25 years or longer. This, combined with the fact that you will not likely earn a paycheck during retirement, is the main reason your portfolio needs to maintain at least some growth potential for the duration of…

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Deducting 2017 Property Losses from Your Taxes

Hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, winter storms, and other events often cause widespread damage to homes and other types of property. If you’ve suffered property loss as the result of a natural or man-made disaster in 2017, you may be able to claim a casualty or property loss deduction on your federal income tax return. What is a casualty loss? A casualty is the destruction, damage, or loss of property caused by an unusual, sudden, or unexpected event. Casualty losses…

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What’s Your Money Script? Money is power

Money is power. A fool and his money are soon parted. A penny saved is a penny earned. Money is the root of all evil. Do any of these expressions ring true for you? As it turns out, the money beliefs our families espoused while we were growing up may have a profound effect on how we behave financially today — and may even influence our financial success. Beliefs drive behaviors In 2011, The Journal of Financial Therapy published…

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Don’t Delay: The Potential Benefits of Starting to Save Now

For long-term investment goals such as retirement, time can be one of your biggest advantages. That’s because time allows your investment dollars to do some of the hard work for you through a mathematical principle known as compounding. The snowball effect The premise behind compounding is fairly simple. You invest to earn money, and if those returns are then reinvested, that money can also earn returns. For example, say you invest $1,000 and earn an annual return of 7%…

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Key Retirement and Tax Numbers for 2018

Every year, the Internal Revenue Service announces cost-of-living adjustments that affect contribution limits for retirement plans, thresholds for deductions and credits, and standard deduction and personal exemption amounts. Here are a few of the key adjustments to the tax numbers for 2018. Employer retirement plans Employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), and most 457 plans can defer up to $18,500 in compensation in 2018 (up from $18,000 in 2017); employees age 50 and older can defer up to an…

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How can I protect myself from digital deception?

Imagine that you receive an email with an urgent message asking you to verify your banking information by clicking on a link. Or maybe you get an enticing text message claiming that you’ve won a free vacation to the destination of your choice — all you have to do is click on the link you were sent. In both scenarios, clicking on the link causes you to play right into the hands of a cybercriminal seeking your sensitive information….

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What can I do to crack down on robocalls?

You may not mind if a legitimate robocalls provides a helpful announcement from your child’s school or an appointment reminder from a doctor’s office. But sadly, criminals often use robocalls to collect consumers’ personal information and/or conduct various scams. Newer “spoofing” technology displays fake numbers to make it look as though calls are local, rather than coming from overseas, which could trick more people into answering the phone. Robocalls have been illegal since 2009 (unless the telemarketer has the…

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How Much Risk Can You Take?

Many market shocks are short-lived once investors conclude the event is unlikely to cause lasting economic damage. Still, major market downturns such as the 2000 dot-com bust and the 2008-09 credit crisis are powerful reminders that we cannot control or predict exactly how, where, or when precarious situations will arise. Market risk refers to the possibility that an investment will lose value because of a broad decline in the financial markets, which can be the result of economic or…

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HSA: A Tax Trifecta Investment Opportunity

When it comes to fiscally frugal health insurance options, health savings accounts (HSA) aren’t exactly new to the game. They’ve been around since 2003 and have only increased in popularity among employers, politicians and certain types of employees. In recent years, however, the growth in popularity of HSAs is due less to the accounts’ function from a cost-saving benefit plan and more to its utility as a wise choice for investment opportunities. It’s time to look beyond the traditional…

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How can families trim college costs?

Trimming college costs up front can help families avoid excessive college borrowing and the burdensome student loan payments that come with it. Here are some ideas. 1. Pick a college with a lower net price. You can use a college’s net price calculator (available on every college’s website) to estimate what your net price (out-of-pocket cost) will be at individual colleges. A net price calculator does this by estimating how much grant aid a student is likely to receive…

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