Fundamental Concepts for Investors

Fundamental Concepts for Investors

Investing involves setting goals for the future and weighing the risks and potential rewards associated with a wide variety of investment opportunities. If you are a new investor, this might seem like an overwhelming task.

But take heart. Becoming familiar with a few basic concepts could help you have more confidence in your investing decisions. So don't be intimidated by complicated-sounding jargon, and don't hesitate to ask questions — after all, this is your money.

Weighing the Choice between Taxable and Tax-Free Bonds

Weighing the Choice between Taxable and Tax-Free Bonds

If you're considering the purchase of an individual bond or even a bond mutual fund, one of your first concerns will be its yield. However, when comparing various yields, you need to make sure you're not comparing apples to oranges. The yield on a tax-free bond may be lower than that paid by a taxable bond, but you'll need to look at its tax-equivalent yield to compare them accurately.

How Will I Manage to Send My Child to College?

How Will I Manage to Send My Child to College?

Being able to send your child to college is near the top of the wish list for most parents. But that diploma doesn't come cheap. Unless you are very well off financially, it's difficult to sit on the sidelines for years and then suddenly find the money to pay for college when your child is ready to go. The best thing to do is to start saving as early as possible, even if you're able to save only a small amount at first.

Understanding Social Security

Understanding Social Security

Approximately 67 million people today receive some form of Social Security benefits, including retirement, disability, survivor, and family benefits. (Source: Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, 2018) Although most people receiving Social Security are retired, you and your family members may be eligible for benefits at any age, depending on your circumstances.

Creating an Investment Portfolio

Creating an Investment Portfolio

You've identified your goals and done some basic research. You understand the difference between a stock and a bond. But how do you actually go about creating an investment portfolio? What specific investments are right for you? What resources are out there to help you with investment decisions? Do you need a financial professional to help you get started?

How Much Can You Truly Afford?

How Much Can You Truly Afford?

An old rule of thumb said that you could afford to buy a house that cost between one and a half and two and a half times your annual salary. In reality, there's a lot more to take into consideration. You'll want to know not only how much of a mortgage you qualify for, but also how much you can afford to spend on a home. In order to know how much you can truly afford, you need to take an honest look at your lifestyle and your standard of living, as well as your income and what you choose to spend it on.

The New Estate Tax Rules and Your Estate Plan

The New Estate Tax Rules and Your Estate Plan

New to estate tax law was gift and estate tax applicable exclusion portability: generally, any gift and estate tax basic exclusion left unused by a deceased spouse could be transferred to the surviving spouse in 2011 and 2012. The GST tax exemption, however, is not portable. Starting in 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the 2012 Tax Act) permanently extended the $5 million (as indexed for inflation) basic exclusion amount and GST tax exemption and portability of the gift and estate tax applicable exclusion amount, but also increased the top gift, estate, and GST tax rate to 40%. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the basic exclusion amount to $11.18 million in 2018 (indexed annually for inflation). The exclusion is $11.4 million in 2019. After 2025, the exclusion is scheduled to revert to its level prior to 2018 and be cut by about one-half. You should understand how these new rules may affect your estate plan.

Estate Planning and Income Tax Basis

Estate Planning and Income Tax Basis

Income tax basis can be an important factor in deciding whether to make gifts during your lifetime or transfer property at your death. This is because the income tax basis for the person receiving the property depends on whether the transfer is by gift or at death. This, in turn, affects the amount of taxable gain subject to income tax when the person sells the property.

For the Ladies: Planning for the Financial Impact of Children

For the Ladies: Planning for the Financial Impact of Children

Children are a special blessing and their arrival brings boundless love and joy into our lives that you can't put a price on. But adding a child to the household impacts the family budget (and women especially) in very measurable ways. Whether this is your first child or your fourth, here are some financial matters to think about and plan for before and after your child arrives.

Establishing a Budget: Helping you reach your financial goals

Establishing a Budget: Helping you reach your financial goals

A brand new year probably means you set some lofty New Year’s Resolutions. Was one of your resolutions to be smarter with your money to reach a financial goal? Do you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? If so, you may want to establish a budget to help you keep track of how you spend your money and help you reach your goals.

Planning for Remarriage

Planning for Remarriage

Welcome to the “engagement season” where nearly 40% of engagements take place. Tomorrow is the day where a number of couples will decide to embark on a new journey of combining their lives. If you find yourself among the others, have you thought about the enormous responsibility of combining your personal finances with your spouse's, and reassessing the way you and your spouse structured personal finances as unmarried individuals? If not, you may want to start thinking about it!

How to Save Money on Your Auto Insurance

How to Save Money on Your Auto Insurance

You may have good reason to complain about the cost of your auto insurance, but have you tried to do anything about it? If you're resourceful and willing to do a little homework, there may be plenty of ways to lower your premium. And we're not necessarily talking chump change--a few simple steps can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Handling Market Volatility

Handling Market Volatility

Conventional wisdom says that what goes up, must come down. But even if you view market volatility as a normal occurrence, it can be tough to handle when it's your money at stake.

Though there's no foolproof way to handle the ups and downs of the stock market, the following common sense tips can help.

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