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What are some tips for reviewing my Medicare coverage during Medicare Open Enrollment?

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, 2018. If you’re satisfied with your current coverage, you don’t need to make changes, but it’s a good idea to review your options. During Open Enrollment, you can: Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, or vice versa Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage…

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Is the Social Security Administration still mailing Social Security Statements?

Your Social Security Statement provides important information about your Social Security record and future benefits. For several years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) mailed these Social Security statements every five years to people starting at age 25, but due to budgetary concerns, the SSA has stopped mailing Social Security Statements to individuals under age 60. Workers age 60 and over who aren’t receiving Social Security benefits will still receive paper statements in the mail, unless they opt to sign…

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Examining the Taxpaying Population: Where Do You Fit In?

Every quarter, the Statistics of Income Division of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publishes financial statistics obtained from tax and information returns that have been filed with the federal government. Recently published reports reflect data gleaned from 2014 individual federal income tax returns. These reports offer a snapshot of how the U.S. population breaks down as taxpaying population. The big picture For tax year 2014, U.S. taxpayers filed roughly 139.6 million individual income tax returns.1 Total adjusted gross income…

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Managing Debt While Saving for Retirement

It’s a catch-22: You feel that you should focus on paying down debt, but you also want to save for retirement. It may be comforting to know you’re not alone. According to an Employee Benefit Research Institute survey, 18% of today’s workers describe their debt level as a major problem, while 41% say it’s a minor problem. And workers who say that debt is a problem are also more likely to feel stressed about their retirement savings prospects.1 Perhaps…

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Company Stock and Your Portfolio: Keep Your Eye on Concentration Risk

The opportunity to acquire company stock — inside or outside a workplace retirement plan — can be a lucrative employee benefit. But having too much of your retirement plan assets or net worth concentrated in your employer’s stock could become a problem if the company or sector hits hard times and the stock price plummets. Buying shares of any individual stock carries risks specific to that company or industry. A shift in market forces, regulation, technology, competition — even mismanagement,…

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Is a nursing home the only option for long-term care?

Is a nursing home the only option for long-term care? If you or a loved one needs long-term care, other choices besides nursing home care may be available. Here are some of the other options. Home care Most people would prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Depending on your needs, you may only need help with some common daily living activities such as laundry, shopping, cooking, and cleaning. First, talk to your family to see…

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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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