April 6, 2011

Wedding Season

Wedding Season is right around the corner. Here are a few legal "I Do's" you should be aware of and plan for whether it's your wedding, or the wedding of your family member or friend. If you (or they) keep these legal items in mind you (or they) will enjoy wedded bliss instead of legal woes:

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May 5, 2010

Should You Convert to a Roth IRA?

Effective in 2010, all taxpayers, regardless of the amount of their adjusted gross income (AGI), can convert a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) to a Roth IRA. Amounts converted must be included in income if taxable when withdrawn (i.e., contributions and earnings in deductible IRAs and earnings in nondeductible IRAs), but they are exempt from the 10% early withdrawal penalty.

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March 9, 2009

Assisting Your Parent With their Finances

Discussing financial matters with your parents can be difficult. You don't want to seem concerned about how much money they may eventually leave you, while they may fear you are interfering in their lives. Yet, without discussing these matters beforehand, you may have trouble finding financial records or determining their wishes if you need to take over their finances.

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November 2, 2007

The Competing Needs of Children and Aging Parents

At a time when baby boomer couples should be saving for their own retirements, many feel squeezed by competing financial needs. Having started families later than past generations, their children may just now be entering college or still living at home. At the same time, aging parents may need financial assistance. It is a dilemma that is likely to become more common.

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August 10, 2007

The Basics of Health Savings Accounts

Health savings accounts (HSAs) provide a way to help save on medical costs. To qualify, you must be covered by a health insurance policy with a minimum deductible of $1,100 for individuals and $2,200 for families in 2007. Maximum out-of-pocket costs for the plan, including deductibles and copayments, must not exceed $5,500 for individuals and $11,000 for families in 2007. You can then set up an HSA account, where you can deposit pretax dollars up to your deductible every year. In 2007, these amounts are capped at $2,850 for individuals and $5,650 for families. Individuals over age 50 can make a catch-up contribution of $800 in 2007, $900 in 2008, and $1,000 in 2009 or later. Contributions can be made by you, your employer, or a combination of both. There are no income limits for setting up an HSA.

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January 19, 2007

The Financial Planning Process

What are you doing to pursue your financial goals? Developing and implementing a written financial plan will give you a road map to help you in the process. Below is a six-step plan to get you going.

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September 27, 2006

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Have Special Planning Needs

Millions of the current generation of pre and post retirees are now starting on an unexpected new career as parents of young children once again.

Why this trend is increasing is a subject of great social debate that cannot be addressed here. The reality of the financial and physical demands of child rearing is now squarely in the lap of custodial grandparents. It is not uncommon to now have two or more youngsters in the house full time around the clock under the age of 5.

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August 9, 2006

Considering Your (Stock) Options

To attract and keep top employees, more companies are offering them employee stock options. If you receive employee stock options as part of your compensation package, careful planning can help you make the most of them.

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August 4, 2006

Resolving Financial Issues before Marriage

Personal financial topics are often some of the most difficult topics for people to discuss. But since financial issues often cause significant problems in marriages, you should try to reach agreement on your finances before your wedding. Some items to consider include:

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July 24, 2006

You can Protect Your Assets from Catastrophic Medical Expenses

It is a personal nightmare. You are sick, really sick and need time off to get well and whole again. You feel vulnerable, scared, ache and you are physically exhausted, unable to function. Your friends and family are really worried about you.

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July 23, 2006

Grandparents: The Do's and Don'ts of Planning for Your Grandchild(ren) with Special Needs

Grandparents want the best for their children and grandchildren. They often give gifts while alive, or make provisions for their loved ones after they are deceased. Grandparents who are in a position to leave money to grandchildren often want to do something for their grandchild(ren) with special needs. They often worry about a severely handicapped or disabled grandchild, who may need additional assets or assistance to lead a quality life. Grandparents are sometimes told not to leave their grandchild(ren) with special needs anything because the child(ren) may lose government benefits. People are often confused as to what to do or not to do. Grandparents can leave money to their grandchild(ren) with special needs. There are very special ways to do it!

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May 3, 2006

Check Your Personal Financial Ratios

When reviewing the financial health of a company, it’s common to look at financial ratios, such as: EPS (Earnings Per Share), P/E Ratios (Price/Earnings Ratios), Book Value, and Total Return. The reason financial ratios are so popular is they give you a means of evaluating financial information, while allowing you to track changes in a company’s performance over time. Consider using the same concept to assess and track your personal financial situation.

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January 25, 2006

Financial Strategies for Major Life Events

As you encounter major life events, different financial matters will be of primary concern. For instance, your financial concerns when you start your first job will be very different from your concerns as you approach retirement age. Below are six tips to consider as you encounter major life events:

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November 14, 2005

Handling the Family’s Finances

In many families, one spouse takes primary responsibility for the family’s finances, doing everything from paying bills to making investment decisions to reviewing insurance policies. If that spouse dies first, the surviving spouse may have difficulty taking over these tasks. Therefore, if you take care of money matters in your marriage, one of your most important financial duties is to prepare your spouse to handle the family’s finances. Some strategies to consider include:

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January 15, 2005

Your Path to Your Financial Goals

By definition, achieving your financial goals requires the accumulation of financial assets. How quickly you accumulate the needed assets depends on three things: 1. How much you earn; 2. How much you save; and 3. How well you invest.

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September 12, 2004

Selecting Beneficiaries for Life Insurance & Retirement Accounts

Many assets, including individual retirement accounts (IRAs), life insurance policies, and annuities, can have
beneficiaries designated to receive the asset after your death. Make these selections carefully, since they typically override any provisions in your will. Consider the following points:

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August 10, 2004

Setting Your Financial Goals

Properly designed, your financial goals should provide the motivation you need to control your spending. Often, individuals develop vague goals such as paying for a child's college education, getting out of debt, or retiring comfortably. Since the goals are vague, they don't provide help in deciding how to accomplish them or in determining whether you are making sufficient progress toward achieving them. Keep these tips in mind when developing financial goals:

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Protecting Your Financial Assets

In light of recent global events, the world certainly seems like a more dangerous place, threatening your sense of personal safety and well-being. While there may not be much we can do on an individual level to reduce the threat of terrorism, war, or even stock market corrections, we can ensure that we take all appropriate steps to mitigate those risks under our control. If you're looking for ways to increase your financial security, consider the following tips:

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December 1, 2003

Evaluating Your Personal Financial Situation

As we approach the start of a new year, it is a good time to evaluate your financial situation to determine if you are making progress toward your financial goals. To make this evaluation, prepare a net worth statement and analyze how your income is spent.

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