We are near the end of tax season. Hopefully you are comfortably ahead of the tax filing deadline curve, but if not, time is running out.
A 529 College Savings plan is a tax-advantaged education savings plan that is set up by your state to allow you to put aside funds for future higher education expenses. Let's take a look at a few things to consider in order to maximize your results when funding these plans.
Social Security is perhaps the best-known and most popular benefit system provided by our federal government. For most American workers, it is an essential component of their retirement income, especially as traditional company pension benefits are reduced or eliminated. Although the concept of Social Security is quite simple (workers contribute a portion of their earnings to a trust fund, and that trust fund provides retirement benefits once they reach a certain age), the details of the program can be very complex. As a result, many participants either fail to take full advantage of available benefits, or they are caught by surprise when those benefits are lower than expected. Here are a few of those important details that everyone should know.
Being an investor today has never been more challenging. There are many reasons for this and some are obvious but, unfortunately, some are not obvious at all. Most investors don't realize that most of the information they rely upon is not objective, or even in their own best interests. Many people may find this hard to believe so I want to examine where most investors get their information and identify why it may not be suitable for one's specific situation. Before I start, let me refresh our memories with an age old adage, "there is no free lunch". Having spent my entire career in retirement planning and investments I can attest, first hand, to an industry that goes to great lengths to make investors THINK their advice is free AND objective. Don't be fooled.
Investors measure success by looking at the rate of return on their investments. This is as it should be. Those who actively manage their portfolios are often looking for an edge, a winning formula that will help them outperform a peer group or a benchmark. They seek out companies that are poised to take off, mutual funds with five-star ratings and asset managers with the best track records. But most of them miss a huge opportunity to boost portfolio returns; one that is easy to implement and proven to deliver significant long-term benefits. With so much focus on picking securities and timing the market, they fail to properly manage the cost of their investments.
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