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How can I pay off the credit card debt I racked up over the holidays?

It’s a common occurrence once the holiday season winds down — you reluctantly look at your credit card statement and wince at all the purchases you made over the holidays. Fortunately, there’s no need to panic. Consider using one of the following strategies to help pay it off. Make a lump-sum payment. The best way to pay off credit card debt is with a single lump-sum payment, which would allow you to pay off your balance without owing additional…

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Growth, Value, or Both

The terms growth and value are often used to describe two different investment strategies, yet many investors may want both qualities in an investment. Famed investor Warren Buffett put it this way in a 2015 interview: “I always say if you aren’t investing for value, what are you investing for? And the idea that value and growth are two different things makes no sense…. Growth is part of the value equation.”1 Even so, analysts may look at specific stocks…

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Key Retirement and Tax Numbers for 2017

Every year, the Internal Revenue Service announces cost-of-living adjustments that affect key tax numbers including 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 for 2017. Retirement plans Employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), and most 457 plans can defer up to $18,000 in compensation in 2017 (the same as in 2016); employees age 50 and older can defer up to an additional…

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Medicare and Medicaid: What’s the Difference?

It’s easy to confuse Medicare and Medicaid, particularly since they’re both government programs that pay for health care. But there are important differences between each program. Medicare is generally for older people, while Medicaid is for people with limited income and resources. What is Medicare? Medicare is a federal health insurance program that was enacted into law to provide reasonably priced health insurance for retired individuals, regardless of their medical condition, and for certain disabled individuals, regardless of age….

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To Bond or Not to Bond

Over the last few years, there has been a fair bit of concern in the market over the general impact of rising bond interest rates. “You shouldn’t be holding bonds because rates will rise soon” goes the logic. But what does this really mean for investors? If interest rates rise, what will ultimately be the impact on investors’ portfolios? To understand this, we first need to understand how all of the moving pieces fit together. At a high level,…

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The Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule

Sometimes the rest of the world finally catches up with your thinking. Last week the Department of Labor published a document which explains a new rule that goes into effect on April 10 of this year. (a link to the referenced document is at the bottom of this email, but don’t read ahead 🙂 ) The new rule says that a financial advisor who gives you advice about your retirement account must give that advice in your best interest….

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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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