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5 Ways Your 401(k) Is a Tax Trap (and What to Do about It)
Just about every financial expert I know advises savers to contribute to their company's 401(k) plan -- at least enough to receive the employer's matching contribution. I can't argue any differently. That company match is free money -- a bonus from
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Making and Keeping New Year's Resolutions for Retirement
It's the time of year we reflect on the past, and plan for the year ahead. Setting resolutions (whether we end up keeping them or not) is a ritual many of us take on with the hopes of stopping a bad habit, hitting the gym more, or sticking to those d
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How to Build Your Wealth in Your 40s
When you enter your 40s, you may start feeling like you have less time to prepare for retirement and find your financial footing. This added stress can make financial planning challenging during this stage of your life. Your 40s are a time to get fo
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Don't Let Bad Timing Be Your Biggest Retirement Mistake
Despite cautionary tales you might hear about how Americans are failing at saving for retirement, plenty of people get it right. They work hard and start saving early. They make the most of 401(k) and other investment accounts, and they accumulate a
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How to Build Your Wealth in Your 30s
Your 30s are an exciting time. You start to make the transition from being a young adult still struggling to find balance and financial success to becoming more organized, and ready to level up. However, building wealth in your 30s still might feel a
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Prepare For Detours In The Market: Manage Your Plan In Real-Time
Once you've created an income plan for your retirement, don't think you're done when the numbers on paper meet your immediate expectations. A successful plan requires regular analysis and adjustments. Both might be required, either because your goals
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How the Stock Market Performed During the Clinton Impeachment
Investors might be concerned that the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, which began Thursday, Jan. 17, could cast a pall over the stock market's recent run to all-time highs. But if past is prologue, the market will shrug this off. In fact
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One Way to Avoid a Potential White-Knuckle Ride Through Retirement
Have you ever noticed how few people over 60 years old are in line for the roller coasters at a theme park? You see plenty of older visitors enjoying the other attractions, but the cars on the big coasters are typically filled with riders 40 or youn
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Maryland Governor Proposes Major Tax Cut for Retirees
Maryland isn't very tax-friendly for retirees, and many seniors are moving to more tax-friendly states as a result. But Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan wants to change that trend. He recently released a plan to lower income taxes by more than $1 billion fo
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13 Super Small-Cap Stocks to Buy for 2020 and Beyond
Small-cap stocks lagged the S&P 500 by a wide margin last year. However, strategists say these smaller companies are set to catch up (and more) in 2020. "We see three favorable factors in place for small-cap stocks: a slow economy, an accommodative F
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Why I Love Annuities, and So Should You
If you need reliable, guaranteed retirement income, annuities can be one of your best options. Why do I say that? For one thing, annuities can act as a hedge against longevity risk -- the possibility that you will outlive your money. People are livi
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Four Steps for a Financially Fit New Year
Most people reassess their financial strategies when things aren't going well. The economy might be faltering, someone in the family has lost a job or experienced a medical issue. Rarely do people make changes when times are good and might wonder, "W
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The 11 Best Closed-End Funds (CEFs) for 2020
Investors should be seeking out diversification and income-producing assets as they enter a potentially wild 2020 - especially after 2019's monster run. Closed-end funds (CEFs) provide both, reducing the risk of slower or even negative returns if thi
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How to Make Investing More Meaningful
A longtime client called me to say he wanted to do "more good" in the world with his investment account. He is 52 and giving to charity but only small checks here and there. He plans on leaving some money to his local library in his will, but he is y
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A Tale of Two Investors: 1 Panicked and 1 Didn't
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness ..." The famous opening line of Charles Dickens' classic Tale of Two Cities has remained culturally relevant for the past 160 years in many
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The 7 Best Financial Stocks for 2020
Financial stocks are among the market sectors facing an extremely uncertain future in 2020. Last year saw the sector pushed and pulled by factors including three Federal Reserve rate cuts, waffling on the U.S.-China trade deal and weak but eventually
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Leverage These 5 Retirement Tax Diversification Strategies
When you're depending on your savings to do the heavy lifting in retirement, you need to wring out as much income as you can from every dollar of savings. However, if most of your savings are in tax-deferred accounts, you'll end up sharing your windf
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3 New Money Habits for 2020 (No. 1 Is Forget Budgets!)
After recently completing my second half-marathon race in October, I'm mulling my new fitness goals for 2020. At the very least, I'm considering running the same two races as I did in 2019 with the goal of beating my previous time on both courses. I
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How Much Can You Contribute to a 401(k) for 2020?
One of the best and most tax-friendly ways to build a nest egg for retirement is by contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k) account. If your employer offers this benefit, jump in as soon as you can, because it's never too early to start saving f
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How Much Can You Contribute to a Solo 401(k) for 2020?
If you're self-employed, you can still save for retirement through a 401(k) plan. A solo 401(k) (a.k.a., an individual 401(k) or a one-participant 401(k)) is designed for self-employed people who have no employees other than a spouse. Small-business
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How Much Can You Contribute to a Traditional IRA for 2020?
Unfortunately for retirement savers, the maximum amount that can be contributed to a traditional IRA in 2020 remains the same as it was in 2019. Let's hope the limit is increased for 2021. The maximum amount you can contribute to a traditional IRA fo
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How Much Can You Contribute to a Roth IRA for 2020?
We're sorry to say that the maximum amount that can be contributed to a Roth IRA in 2020 did not increased over last year's maximum. At least the income limits for making the maximum contribution went up in 2020, though. All-in-all, Roth IRAs offer a
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How Much Can You Contribute to a Roth 401(k) for 2020?
The maximum contribution limit for a Roth 401(k) has been raised for 2020. The "catch-up" contribution limit went up, too. That's especially good news for workers who have access to Roth 401(k) accounts through their employer and expect to be in a hi
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How Much Can You Contribute to a SIMPLE IRA for 2020?
A SIMPLE IRA is a retirement plan designed for small businesses with 100 or fewer employees. It's a cheaper (and easier) plan for an employer to set up when compared to an traditional 401(k); however, the amount a worker can save in a SIMPLE IRA is l
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Dogs of the Dow 2020: 10 Dividend Stocks to Watch
It's that time of year when Wall Street offers up its many forecasts for the coming 52 weeks, based on anything from earnings growth to interest rates to the possibility of a coming recession - and in 2020, the incessant noise coming from Washington.
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How Much Can You Contribute to a 403(b) for 2020?
The maximum amount an employee can elect to contribute out of salary to a 403(b) retirement plan for 2020 is $19,500. If you're 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $6,500 as a "catch-up" contribution for 2020, bringing your contribution tot
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How Much Can You Contribute to a 457 Retirement Plan for 2020?
Employees of state and local governments can stash slightly more money in their 457 plans this year. Plus, the catch-up contribution has increased by $500 this year for those 50 and older. The maximum amount you can contribute to a 457 retirement pla
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How Much Can You Contribute to a SEP IRA for 2020?
Self-employed workers and small-business owners who want an easy and inexpensive retirement plan should consider a Simplified Employee Pension IRA, or SEP IRA for short. Savers are also allowed to stash away more for retirement with a SEP IRA when co
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How Much Can You Contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan for 2020?
Employees of the federal government and members of the military can save $500 more in their Thrift Savings Plan for 2020 versus 2019. Active military members in combat zones have a chance to save even more. The maximum amount you can contribute to a
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11 S&P 500 Stocks That Could Soar 20% or More in 2020
Never say never, but it's hard to see stocks follow their amazing 2019 returns for a second straight year. S&P 500 stocks sent the index a whopping 29% higher in 2020. That's a big deal. Keep in mind that the market's long-term average annual gain co
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