What is a Bear Market?

If you're reconsidering your current investment strategy, a volatile market is probably the worst time to turn your portfolio inside out. Dramatic price swings can magnify the impact of a wholesale restructuring if the timing of that move is a little off....
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IRA Distributions, What Is It?

Distributions from Traditional IRAs: Between Ages 59 1/2 and 70 1/2 What is an IRA distribution? A withdrawal from an IRA is referred to as a distribution. Distributions can come in the form of several payment patterns, from a one-time (lump-sum) payment to a series of distributions over several...
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IRA’s What you DON’T know

What are my options if I inherit an IRA or an employer retirement savings plan account? If you don’t want the money, you can always disclaim (refuse to accept) the inherited IRA or plan funds. But if you’re like most people, you will want the money. Your first thought...
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Many people enter retirement without a plan. The coble together many types of investments, CD's and annuities, without trusting one advisor group to handle ALL of their plans. This causes errors, loss, excess taxation, and many run out of money. You need one specialist. One quarter-back. One dream team....
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Beneficiaries Who gets your money

Annuity Beneficiary Considerations A beneficiary is a person or entity that receives the value of the annuity or annuitization payments that remain (if any) after the death of the annuitant or owner. The annuitant or owner receives annuitization payments during his or her life (the annuitant provides the measuring...
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Annuity Moving Parts Explained

FINRA® Letter What is an equity-indexed annuity? While technically classified as a fixed annuity, an equity-indexed annuity (EIA), also referred to as a fixed-indexed annuity, can be described as a hybrid of a fixed annuity and a variable annuity, having some characteristics of both, and falling in between regarding...
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The Everything Annuity White Paper

Annuities                                                                              FINRA® Letter What is an annuity? The contract between purchaser and insurance company An annuity is a contract between you (the purchaser or...
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COVID 19

Since the turn of the millennium, the market's negative response to health crises has been relatively short-lived. As this table shows, approximately six months after early reports of a major outbreak, the S&P 500 bounced back by an average of 10.47%. After 12 months, it rebounded by an average...
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How to Tap Retirement Savings during a Financial Crisis

If your work-based retirement plan allows loans, you typically can borrow up to the lesser of 50% of your vested balance or $50,000. Most loans must be repaid within five years, but if the money is used to purchase a primary residence, the repayment period may be longer. The...
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You are going to retire when?

Just how wealthy are you? You'll want to figure that out before you make any major life decisions. Your first impulse may be to go out and buy things, but that may not be in your best interest. Even if you're used to handling your own finances, now's the...
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Money after Marriage

Merging Your Money When You Marry Getting married is exciting, but it brings many challenges. One such challenge that you and your spouse will have to face is how to merge your finances. Planning carefully and communicating are important because the financial decisions that you make now can have...
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Unemployment

What is coping with unemployment?   Coping with unemployment means breaking away from the past and facing your future. It means dealing with the emotional, financial, and professional challenges unemployment can bring. Although this process can be painful, facing unemployment with a plan will help make coping with it...
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Funeral Planning

Planning a Family? Get to Know Your Health Insurance Policy Congratulations! You’ve decided to start a family. Up until now, your health insurance has probably been adequate, paying for routine doctor visits and prescription drugs. But now that you’re facing a lifestyle change, you must make sure that your...
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Borrowing Options

Establishing credit   You must first establish a credit record if you want to have ready access to loans when you need them. You establish a credit record by borrowing money from a lender who reports to a credit bureau. So, what’s the problem? The problem is that few...
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Credit Issues

Establishing credit   You must first establish a credit record if you want to have ready access to loans when you need them. You establish a credit record by borrowing money from a lender who reports to a credit bureau. So, what’s the problem? The problem is that few...
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Managing Debt

Debt Management What is debt management?   As a modern consumer, you need credit. When you were growing up, you may have heard your parents or grandparents say, “If you can’t pay for it with cash, then you can’t afford to buy it.” That may have been sound advice...
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Little Known IRA Facts You Can Use

Little Known IRA Facts You Can Use When it comes to IRAs, the tax rules get pretty complicated, to say the least. Here are five unusual IRA facts:   Military death benefits can be contributed to a Roth IRA: Help families of veterans with this one because it can...
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Challenges for Social Security and Medicare

New Reports Highlight Continuing Challenges for Social Security and Medicare Most Americans will receive Social Security and Medicare benefits at some point in their lives. For this reason, workers and retirees are concerned about potential program shortfalls that could affect future benefits. Each year, the Trustees of the Social...
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Understanding Trusts

Understanding Trusts In recent years the public has been bombarded with a barrage of advertisements, brochures, and articles about trusts of all kinds, especially so-called living trusts. Some of the information offered for public consumption is misleading and some of it is simply false.   This brochure is offered...
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Charitable Giving

What are the tax benefits of donating to charity? Through tax legislation, Congress has attempted to encourage charitable giving because it is good social policy. Most every charity depends on individual contributions to remain financially solvent, especially in this era of fewer direct government dollars...
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Lifetime Gifting

What is lifetime (noncharitable) gifting? Gifting can be a powerful estate planning tool, allowing you to transfer your wealth to others during your lifetime. Lifetime gifts have many advantages over gifts you might leave in your will (these are called bequests, legacies, or devises). You might find making lifetime...
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Working In Retirement

Working During Retirement Planning on working during retirement? If so, you’re not alone. An increasing number of employees nearing retirement plan to work at least some period of time during their retirement years. Why work during retirement? Obviously, if you work during retirement, you’ll be earning money and relying...
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Portfolio Performance

Assessing Portfolio Performance: Choose Your Benchmarks Wisely You can’t help but hear about the frequent ups and downs of the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500 index. The performance of both major indexes is widely reported and analyzed in detail by financial news outlets around the nation....
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Financial Stress

Five Steps to Tame Financial Stress Do you sometimes lie awake at night thinking about bills that need to be paid? Does it feel as though you’re drowning in debt? If this describes you, you might take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. A recent report released...
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Diversification

When investing, particularly for long-term goals, there is one concept you will likely hear about over and over again — diversification. Why is diversification so important? The simple reason is that it helps ensure that your risk of loss is spread among a number of different investments. The theory...
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Indexed Annuities

If you want to limit potential losses while participating in the potentially attractive returns of a market-driven investment but would also like a guaranteed return, an indexed annuity might be worth checking out. The performance of indexed annuities, also referred to as equity-indexed or fixed-indexed annuities, is tied to...
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Why do people buy annuities?

Annuities are insurance-based financial vehicles that can provide many benefits sought by retirement-minded investors. There are a number of reasons why people buy annuities. Deferral of taxes is a big benefit, and so is the ability to put large sums of money into an annuity — more than is...
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Indexed Annuities 2

An indexed annuity (IA) is a contract between you and an insurance company. You pay premiums in a lump sum or periodically, and the issuer promises* to pay you some amount in the future. The IA issuer also provides a minimum guaranteed* interest rate on your premiums paid. With...
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Balancing Work and Family

At one time, the typical American family looked like this: a breadwinner father who commuted a short distance to work and earned a very good living, and a stay-at-home mother who took care of the kids and family home with aplomb. Life seemed easy and manageable, with plenty of...
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A Retirement Income Roadmap for Women

More women are working and taking charge of their own retirement planning than ever before. What does retirement mean to you? Do you dream of traveling? Pursuing a hobby? Volunteering your time, or starting a new career or business? Simply enjoying more time with your grandchildren? Whatever your goal,...
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A Woman’s Guide to Health Care in Retirement

At any age, health care is a priority. But when you retire, you should probably focus more on health care than ever before. That’s why it’s particularly important for women to factor in the cost of health care, including long-term care, as part of their retirement plan. How much...
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Getting Help from a Financial Professional

Are you suddenly on your own or forced to assume greater responsibility for your financial future? Unsure about whether you’re on the right track with your savings and investments? Finding yourself with new responsibilities, such as the care of a child or an aging parent? Facing other life events,...
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Women and Money: Taking Control of Your Finances

As a woman, you have financial needs that are unique to your situation in life. Perhaps you would like to buy your first home. Maybe you need to start saving for your child’s college education. Or you might be concerned about planning for retirement. Whatever your circumstances may be,...
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How Women Are Different from Men, Financially Speaking

We all know men and women are different in some fundamental ways. But is this true when it comes to financial planning? In a word, yes. In the financial world, women often find themselves in very different circumstances than their male counterparts. Everyone wants financial security. Yet women often...
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I’m marrying someone with bad credit. How will this affect me?

Answer: You are not responsible for your future spouse’s bad credit or debt, unless you choose to take it on by getting a loan together to pay off the debt. However, your future spouse’s credit problems can prevent you from getting credit as a couple after you’re married. Even...
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Medicaid Planning Basics

The best time to plan for the possibility of nursing home care is when you’re still healthy. By doing so, you may be able to pay for your long-term care and preserve assets for your loved ones. How? Through Medicaid planning. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides...
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Health Insurance for College Students

As your child prepares to head off to college, probably the last thing on his or her mind (and yours) is health insurance. But getting sick or injured away from home can be an unpleasant experience–more so if your child doesn’t know his or her health-care options. You’ll want...
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Research Tips When Choosing a College

It seems like only yesterday you were bandaging scraped knees and waving at the school bus, and now it’s time for your child to choose a college. You may think a hands-off approach is best to avoid interfering, but it’s important to help your child research schools. Not only...
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What expenses are included in the annual cost of college?

Most students start investigating colleges in their junior year of high school, though you can certainly start earlier if you want to. Beginning the search a full year before your child needs to apply to college should allow plenty of time to compare schools and help you feel in...
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Refinancing Your Mortgage

When you refinance your mortgage, you take out a new home loan and use some or all of the proceeds to pay off the existing one. There are a variety of reasons why you may want to consider refinancing your mortgage, such as: Lowering your monthly mortgage payment by...
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How Does Cash Value in a Life Insurance Policy Really Work?

When you own cash value life insurance, your premium payments are allocated three ways. First, a portion of each premium pays for the actual insurance costs. Like term insurance, a specific cost is associated with the policy’s death benefit, based on your age, health, and other underwriting criteria. Second,...
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Choosing a Credit Card

Like dandelions in a spring lawn, credit card offers pop up everywhere–stuffing your mailbox, flashing on the Internet, even falling from the magazines in your doctor’s waiting room. And they all sound so attractive. “0% APR until next year!” “No fee if you transfer a balance now!” “Low fixed...
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