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Have You Made Any of These Financial Mistakes?

As people move through different stages of life, there are few financial opportunities — and potential pitfalls — around every corner. Have you made any of these mistakes? Your 50s and 60s Raiding your home equity or retirement funds. It goes without saying that doing so will prolong your debt and/or reduce your nest egg. Not quantifying your expected retirement income. As you near retirement, you should know how much money you (and your spouse, if applicable) can expect from…

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Should I enroll in a health savings account?

A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged account that you can establish and contribute to if you are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). Because you shoulder a greater portion of your health-care costs, you’ll usually pay a much lower premium for an HDHP than you would pay for traditional health insurance. This allows you to contribute the premium dollars you’re saving to your HSA. Then, when you need medical care, you can withdraw HSA funds to…

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Take Charge of Your Student Debt Repayment Plan

Outstanding student loan debt in the United States has tripled over the last decade, surpassing both auto and credit card debt to take second place behind housing debt as the most common type of household debt.1 Today, more than 44 million Americans collectively owe more than $1.4 trillion in student debt.2 Here are some strategies to pay it off. Look to your employer for help The first place to look for help is your employer. While only about 4%…

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What to Do If Your Term Life Insurance Policy Is About to Expire

One advantage of term life insurance is that it is generally the most cost-effective way to achieve the maximum life insurance protection you can afford. Many people first purchase term life insurance to protect their family’s financial interests after a significant life event, such as getting married or the birth of a child. You may have done the same for your family when you purchased your policy years ago. And chances are, other than paying the premiums, you probably…

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What’s so great about a college net price calculator?

If you’re saving for a child’s college education, at some point you’ll want to familiarize yourself with a college net price calculator, which is an invaluable tool for estimating financial aid and measuring a college’s affordability. Available on every college website, a net price calculator gives families an estimate of how much grant aid a student might expect at a particular college based on his or her personal financial and academic profile and the college’s specific criteria for awarding…

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When should I submit college financial aid forms?

For the 2019-2020 school year, the federal government’s financial aid form, the FAFSA, can be filed as early as October 1, 2018. It relies on current asset information and two-year-old income information from your 2017 tax return, which means you’ll have the income data you need when you sit down to complete the form. This is a relatively new process. A few years ago, parents had to wait until after January 1 to file the FAFSA and use tax…

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Life Insurance with a Refund

Comparatively speaking, of all the different types of life insurance available, term is usually the least expensive. Generally, term life insurance provides protection for a stated or defined period of time, usually from one year to 30 years. If you die during the coverage term, your beneficiary receives the death benefit from the policy. But what if you outlive the term? With return of premium (ROP) life insurance, you receive the return of all your premium payments at the…

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On the Road to Retirement, Beware of These Five Risks

On your journey to retirement, you’ll likely face many risks that have the potential to throw you off course. Following are five common challenges retirement investors face. Take some time now to review and understand them before your journey takes an unplanned detour. 1. Traveling aimlessly Setting out on an adventure without a definitive destination can be exciting, but probably not when it comes to saving for retirement. As you begin your retirement strategy, one of the first steps…

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Down the Donut Hole: The Medicare Coverage Gap

One of the most confusing Medicare provisions is the prescription drug coverage gap, often called the “donut hole.” It may be clearer if you consider the gap within the annual “lifecycle” of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage. This also applies to drug coverage that is integrated into a Part C Medicare Advantage Plan. Annual deductible. Prescription drug plans typically have an annual deductible not exceeding $405 in 2018. Before reaching the deductible, you will pay the full cost of your…

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Ten Year-End Tax Tips for 2018

Here are 10 things 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 other. However, the…

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