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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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How much money should a family borrow for college?

There is no magic formula to determine how much you or your child should borrow for college. But there is such a thing as borrowing too much. How much is too much? Well, one guideline for students is to borrow no more than their expected first-year starting salary after college, which, in turn, depends on a student’s particular major and job prospects. But this guideline is simply that — a guideline. Just as many homeowners got burned by taking…

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Five Myths About Group Disability Insurance

You may think that the chances of becoming disabled during your working years are slight, and even if you did get hurt or had to miss time at work, you could get by because you have group disability insurance.  unfortunately, you may be in for a big surprise. Here are some myths and misunderstandings about group disability insurance. Myth 1: It won’t happen to me. You’re not really worried about your group disability insurance coverage because you’re sure you…

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Ten Year-End Tax Tips for 2017

Here are 10 Year end tax tips to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year. 1. Set aside time to plan Effective planning requires that you have a good understanding of your current tax situation, as well as a reasonable estimate of how your circumstances might change next year. There’s a real opportunity for tax savings if you’ll be paying taxes at a lower rate in one year than in the…

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How do the Economic Milestones of Young Adults Today Compare With Prior Generations?

If you’re the parent of a young adult who is still living at home, you might be wondering whether this situation is commonplace. According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau study, it is: One in three young people (ages 18 to 34) lived in their parents’ home in 2015. The Census Bureau study examines how the economic and demographic characteristics of young adults have changed from 1975 to 2016. In 1975, for example, less than one-fourth of young adults…

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